Culture Category RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Culture RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network The Tea: This Kingdom Hearts Project Turns a Let's Play Into Art https://www.gameskinny.com/0wkts/the-tea-this-kingdom-hearts-project-turns-a-lets-play-into-art https://www.gameskinny.com/0wkts/the-tea-this-kingdom-hearts-project-turns-a-lets-play-into-art Fri, 20 Jul 2018 16:09:30 -0400 Jackson Ingram

Remember when Kingdom Hearts was just “Disney meets Final Fantasy”? Who knew that would be as simple (and clean) as it’d get. Spanning nine titles and nearly as many platforms, KH has built a franchise the way I might build a cake: foregoing the advice of actual bakers to add layer after layer until I have a deliciously unstable cake-tower, loosely held together by candy-sweet frosting and regret.

Call it complexity or convolution, but we’re like seven “side games” from calling KH coherent. It’s a growing pain Square-Enix has been scrambling to alleviate with PS4 remasters of the entire series, all in the hopes that new fans can theoretically get up to speed before the long-long-long-awaited release of Kingdom Hearts III next year.

But let’s be real: who has time to replay all those games? Better question: who actually wants to keep playing Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]? Yes, there are now official recap videos, but this story’s been brewin’ for 15 years. How can a cutscene compilation do it any justice?

Enter Marco, better known as Everglow, who’s made a bit of a name for himself among KH diehards for his playthroughs, Union χ[Cross] story translations, and, of course, the 30-min extended KH tracks that have quickly taken over my music playlists. À la Jiminy Cricket, Everglow’s been a steady KH chronicler since 2012, but this past April, he launched his most ambitious project to date: retelling the entirety of the Kingdom Hearts saga. In video. Chronologically.

At first glance, Everglow’s Kingdom Hearts Timeline (KHT) might sound deceptively simple, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is just another playthrough. KHT lines the very scattered pieces up in the exact order they occur. So like, Aqua is chugging through the Realm of Darkness while Sora is making his first (of so, so many) trips through Agrabah. Untangling 15 years of interwoven plot threads would be a huge undertaking on its own, but KHT takes it several Sora-shoe-sized steps further by setting out to retell the KH saga as effectively (and affectingly) as possible.

Top and above: Most episodes pull from several titles to realign the story chronologically.

We’ve seen cutscene compilations before, of course, but even Nomura-certified ones, like the Days and Coded “movies”, fall flat because video games, by virtue of their medium, tell the bulk of their stories through first-hand experience. With this in mind, Everglow creates each episode with a balanced mix of cutscenes and gameplay, carefully curating a unique rhythm that gives viewers a full experience without getting bogged down with wave after wave of button-mashing.

It’s Everglow’s unique blend that sets KHT apart, and, in my opinion, the franchise should look to this style and pace of storytelling as we take our first uncharted steps into whatever the hell they have cooked up after the Xehanort Saga.

[Re]Birth by Sleep

The Timeline begins, of course, by taming the international cash cow that is Kingdom Hearts χ (including its browser title, the mobile game before and after its rebranding, and the almost nonsensical CGI movie) into a story that not only makes sense, but means something. As impressive a feat as that is, however, it’s when we hit Birth by Sleep that the Timeline really begins to shine.

To be quite honest, I’ve never been a huge BBS fan. It’s whole ~thing~ back in 2010 was having three player-characters, which is conceptually dope as hell. The less dope part was that the tri-pronged approach made you play through the same events through three different perspectives, in three separate playthroughs. And let me tell you, Disney Town’s happy-go-lucky minigames weren’t any more charming the third time around than they were the first.

The pacing goes to hell almost immediately, and the characterization goes with it. We spend about 15 hours with each of the main protagonists -- Terra, Aqua, and Ven -- and get told over and over what a special friendship they have, but we never see it for ourselves because the gameplay demands that they stay isolated until the game's climax (which KH2’s secret movie spoils almost in full).

That makes it really hard to care about them as a fractured friend group, instead of just seeing a handful of whiny young adults who could use some communication counseling. Stop telling me about your problems! Talk to each other! Geez!

Everglow braids these three separate threads into a much stronger, united story. Instead of running the level gauntlet one keybearer at a time, we stick around in each world for complete, cohesive, well-paced arcs (typically starting with Terra accidentally screwing something up, Ven wandering around like a dope, and Aqua trailing after them, picking up the pieces).

The dissonant highs and lows of their friendship begin to harmonize.

More Than a Let’s Play

The way I see it, there are two types of people: those who ask, “Why would anyone want to watch a video game?” and those who backlog their Watch Later playlist with Let’s Plays. Like it or not, video games have carved out a cultural moment in which Mario Tennis is as much a spectator sport as its real-life counterpart. It’s a thing.

And while I’m truly allergic to obnoxious YouTuber culture, I often power through the bad jokes and running commentary because there are some games that I want to experience even when my bank account won’t let me. It’s kind of like having to go over to an annoying friend’s house to play something, and they almost ruin it by never shutting up.

With the Timeline, it’s all the joys of Kingdom Hearts with none of the usual Let’s Play detractions. In fact, I’d almost rather watch Everglow’s videos than play the games myself. His gameplay is so masterful and so artistic that it quickly becomes an integral part of the storytelling.

Birth by Sleep has one of the most robust ability systems in the franchise, filling out each character’s deck with individualized skillsets with which Everglow makes every fight dynamic. Some of the larger beats of each boss battle I’m sure he planned out in advance, but because this is a video game, he also has to choreograph as he goes, tweaking and improvising so that the finishers goes off like clockwork, leaving the most lasting impact every step of the way.

Like a painter in front of three distinct color palettes, Everglow uses Terra, Aqua, and Ven's moves to engineer cinematic moments on the fly, all while incorporating stylized touches to evoke their distinct personalities. Watching him, it’s almost like seeing an actor embody a character onstage.

Ever-patient Aqua takes her time in battle, often letting her opponent strike first and, in the climax of the story, shows serious restraint in some of the fights against her own friends. Meanwhile, Terra rushes in, fitting for his impulsive nature. And the way Ventus breezes around the arena, the fights are as much a carefree game to him as they are to the player.

It’s these tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it details that elevate the gameplay to an art form I’ve never seen in Let’s Plays before.

Check out the 16:00 mark for an excellent example of how Everglow blends gameplay and storytelling.

Perhaps the best example of this project’s thoughtful innovation is its use of Trinity Limits. While the Trinity Limit has been a staple Kingdom Hearts attack, Birth by Sleep uses it specifically to evoke the bond between Terra, Ven, and Aqua. When Everglow deploys his Limits at key moments, he ups the emotional stakes by editing in character voiceover that best illustrates the complex dynamics between the three.

Let me tell ya, the "dynamic" in question is not always unconditional love, which makes it all the more interesting. I honestly thought I’d get bored of them toward the end, when there was at least one Trinity Limit per episode, but because of the nuance behind the chosen dialogue and the Limit’s use as a finisher to critical boss fights, Everglow makes each of them feel just as fresh and impactful as the first.

The cutscene edits and in-game characterization truly work wonders together, fittingly coming to a head at the climax of the game in “Episode 30: Destiny is Never Left to Chance,” whose montage (recapping the Wayfinder Trio’s friendship amidst its collapse) actually left me breathless.

Fandom Freak-Out

This week’s entire column is technically the the Fandom Freak-Out, but it’d be wrong of me to (rightfully) laud the Timeline as the greatest multimedia contribution to the Kingdom Hearts fandom without giving mad kudos to some of the brilliant contributors to the "A" side of this AV masterpiece.

Beginning around Radiant Garden in the Birth by Sleep leg of the Timeline, Everglow begins incorporating several of Project Destati’s acclaimed orchestrations at key moments. My favorite so far has to be the inclusion of Riku’s theme from their first full-length album Light at the part of Birth by Sleep in which he inherits the keyblade from Terra.

Project Destati made waves this past March with the long-awaited release of their second album, Darkness, and have already hinted (through their surprisingly robust social media presence) at a third in the works (because the best things in KH come in threes).

Project Destati describes themselves as “a celebration of the rich musical score of the Kingdom Hearts games.” Outside the context the cutscenes and boss battles, the music tells a story itself, constructing impressive and moving arcs that flow across their discography. In this sense, Project Destati pairs perfectly with Everglow’s project, both succeeding telling a tale (as old as time) in a completely new way.

I can only imagine what the Timeline will do with Darkness’s 10-minute "Xion" track once we hit Days. I’ll keep tissues on-hand for that one.

The Final Swallow

I can't say it enough: Everglow’s Kingdom Hearts Timeline is a gift. If you’re a newbie trying to machete your way through the lore before KH3 or an old fan looking to experience the story in a fresh light, this project is for you.

Right now, Everglow’s still working his way through KH1 (which plays out interspersed with Aqua’s journey in 0.2), and the parallels are bananas good. Don't believe me? Check out what he did with Neverland. If you start now (and watch pretty much non-stop for three days), you should catch up right before KH's climax, which promises to be a hell of a show.

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That's all for this week, folks. In the comments below, tell me about your Let's Play experiences. What are your favorites? Why do you watch them? Let's get talkin'.

The Tea (never timely, always hot) is a weekly column steeped in gaming culture and the fandom experience. Tune in Thursdays for another cup of content!

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ELEAGUE: Legitimizing Esports Through Creative Storytelling and Emerging Technology https://www.gameskinny.com/c13z4/eleague-legitimizing-esports-through-creative-storytelling-and-emerging-technology https://www.gameskinny.com/c13z4/eleague-legitimizing-esports-through-creative-storytelling-and-emerging-technology Fri, 20 Jul 2018 11:07:40 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Log in to any sports broadcasting network, and there's a strong chance you'll run into a well-polished documentary or feature on a player's life, technique, or claim to fame. To anyone who cares about sports, the games we watch aren't really about the sports themselves but more about the personalities lacing up to take the field or court. We tune in because we want to see those players succeed or fail, and we want to see how they'll do it. 

The end, as they say, isn't as compelling as the journey. 

It's not surprising, then, that story and competition are uniquely linked. From the earliest days of sport, story fashioned from the splendor of victory and the disappointment of defeat has compelled us to watch, perhaps even more than the innate fun of the sports themselves. It's true in analog sports, and it's true in digital sports as well. 

In many ways, esports is the natural progression of competition. Just as analog sports have evolved from their primal roots, so have they evolved from traditional stick and ball sports -- such as baseball, football, and basketball -- to something if not more advanced, more closely tied to the digital age. Of course, traditional sports still entrance and enrapture us, but it's time to come to grips with a simple fact: sports are evolving, and both fans and broadcasters have to evolve with it.  

One of the companies leading the charge into that brave "new" world of broadcast esports is a name that's become synonymous with sports itself: Turner Broadcasting. Well-known for its coverage of the NBA, the MLB, the PGA, NCAA basketball, and more, Turner was one of the major broadcasting companies to quickly realize that esports wasn't just a fad but instead a legitimate cultural zeitgeist. Because of their foresight, their esports network, ELEAGUE, is one of the fastest growing and most renowned esports-centric networks currently showcasing games and tournaments. 

Speaking with Matt Mosteller, Vice President of Content for Turner Sports, who also oversees production for ELEAGUE, the idea of crafting compelling narratives lies at the center of each ELEAGUE production. As a fan-first esports brand, ELEAGUE seeks to bring esports stories to fans in interesting and creative ways -- some they may have never seen before. 

[Esports is] a great digital property, and there are a ton of young fans that are consuming this content and are ferocious when following these sports. For us, being able to create content and bring in a younger audience is always something that's key. It just made sense. 

At Turner, we're always looking for what's next; what are the new, big sporting events and phenomena? We want to be a part of those and help tell stories around those. We pride ourselves in doing premiere events. We looked at esports -- and being able to jump in and help grow some of those games and create some more premiere events -- [as something we were very interested in]. 

One of the ways Turner looks to help grow established esports such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Street Fighter V, and Tekken 7 is through leveraging its experience in traditional broadcast storytelling. Creating hype around these games in ways both hardcore and casual fans may not have experienced before is an important wrinkle in the company's strategy. 

In many ways, I've seen it work on the "uninitiated" in person. Injecting broadcasts with player profiles, educational segments, and creative features such as this gem featuring ELEAGUE's 2018 Street Fighter V Invitational Champion, Tokido, serve a dual purpose in engaging the hardcore viewer and humanizing the competition for the casual viewer.   



Setting out after that goal, it's the creative work Turner employs outside the game that often sets its broadcasts apart from other esports coverage and analysis. It's crazy polished. It's engaging. It's compelling. The ELEAGUE team uses storytelling to give fans better insight into the every-day lives of these players, showcasing the monumental investment these players put into their training. What's more, it highlights the fact that esports players are just as passionate and skilled as players in the NBA, NFL, and MLB. 

Mosteller says that one of the best ways to ensure all of those boxes get ticked is by giving viewers what they really want, which is access to the players. That one thing is the connective tissue by which the entire organism seems to work.  

The game's the game. There's only so much we can do within the game itself. [But the question is], "What can we do around the game to create this buzz and get people excited and draw in more of an audience?". One of the great things fans love is access. They want to be these players and they want to see them away from the controller ...

One of the things we looked at was, "How can we bring fans closer to the action?", giving them the chance to know these guys. So we've dived into some of the documentary style [content], like the road to the international, the road to the Boston Major this past year for our ELEAGUE Counter-Strike major, and it really gave fans a chance to get to know these teams and see that other side of them, and create that connection and bond that will hopefully bring people back to watching live gameplay. 

That's a tall task when it comes to Joe Public. It's a safe bet that your average sports viewer isn't all that keyed in to esports -- or doesn't hold the niche in very high regard due to general views on gaming. Although studies show that some 250 million people follow esports competitions around the world, that's across all esports properties and tournaments, not a specific event.

In 2017, IEM Katowice brought in 46 million viewers, making it the largest esports event in history. However, that pales to the 2017 Super Bowl, which alone brought in 111 million viewers. This shows that broadcasters have the attention of hardcore gamers, but getting the attention of an ordinary audience requires a bit more finesse. 

In response, broadcasters like Turner have become more flexible.

That adaptability has helped ELEAGUE grow its brand and engage esports fans on both digital streaming channels such as Twitch and BR/Live, as well as TBS. It's been aided by leveraging proprietary and third-party technology. Used in conjunction with more traditional storytelling elements -- features, player profiles, and more -- tools such as eye-tracking technology and Game Command tell story in an engaging, yet more analytical way.  

Without eye-tracking technology, you wouldn't know that many Street Fighter V, CS:GO, and Tekken 7 players move their eyes just as fast, and in some cases even faster, than athletes in almost all traditional stick and ball sports.

That storyline in and of itself not only gives casual fans direct analogues by which to understand esports and overcome some of their initial hurdles, but it also gives hardcore fans the validation they've sought since players started gathering around cabinets in their local arcades decades ago. 

From another angle, ELEAGUE's Game Command gives viewers unprecedented access to professional esports play, specifically CS:GO. In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, viewers streaming matches are able to see not only the main feed (which is similar to a typical sports broadcast on cable), but they are also able to see multiple angles of action, similar to a multi-feed that's sometimes provided during traditional sports broadcasts.

But that's not all. There's a unique wrinkle that takes the game to an entirely new level. With Game Command, viewers can watch specific players throughout the match, easily switching between players and viewpoints at their own discretion. It gives viewers unprecedented access and control to the games they love; and in cases of the uninitiated, gives viewers a new way to learn about the game they're watching. 

Mosteller says that's the whole point: to bring viewers and audiences as close to the game as they possibly can. Just like traditional sports, it's important to build a conversation around esports that grows it from a niche market into something bigger and more accepted. 

We always try to push ourselves on the technology side. And the gaming space is a great place to do that. Whether it was the eye-tracking technology or the augmented reality we've done around Street Fighter or the Injustice League, where we brought these great characters these fanbases know and love to life in the studio and during the broadcast. Those are just some things we can do to spice up our coverage and get the fans excited. 

I think if we're going to continue to grow the esports space, that's something that's big for us: bringing in that more casual audience, especially on TBS where people aren't as used to watching esports on that platform. 

If any mainstream broadcasting company can make esports widely popular, Turner is one of the very few that can do it. What makes Turner Broadcasting unique is that it has a wide array of ancillary properties from which it can pull from to further build hype around the scene. It has specific brands that already overlap with the gaming space, such as Cartoon Network, that further facilitate the push to greater esports ubiquity. 

It's that mixture of styles (a firm understanding of traditional media alongside a genuine excitement and interest in emerging technologies) that's helped ELEAGUE become so popular so quickly. Often, there's not a lot of context around esports matches. By crafting traditional and analytical stories around them, Turner looks to help both hardcore fans and casuals better understand what they're watching. By proxy, that understanding will hopefully transform into wider acceptance of esports as an "actual" branch of sports.  

Much like NFL films has done for the league's 32 teams and thousands of players, Turner uses technology and creative storytelling to craft compelling, engaging, and informative content that breaks down barriers.

It's telling stories where it at first doesn't seem stories could or should exist. By humanizing gaming and crafting stories around each of the scenes it represents, Turner is using ELEAGUE to firmly make the argument that competitive gaming isn't just for the initiated.

Just like traditional sports, it's for everyone. 

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To see first hand the way ELEAGUE tells stories around esports tournaments, make sure to tune in to the CS:GO Premier 2018, which starts this Satruday, July 21, at 2 p.m. EDT on Twitch, BR/Live, and Game Command

The group action will go through Wednesday, July 25. After the dust has settled, four teams (two from each group) will face off in single-elimination playoffs held Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29, for their share of the million-dollar prize pool. 

As always, stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on ELEAGUE as it develops.  

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The Tea: A STEAMy Sip of Ori and the Blind Forest https://www.gameskinny.com/6m0o2/the-tea-a-steamy-sip-of-ori-and-the-blind-forest https://www.gameskinny.com/6m0o2/the-tea-a-steamy-sip-of-ori-and-the-blind-forest Thu, 12 Jul 2018 11:40:15 -0400 Jackson Ingram

In just over nine hours of Ori and the Blind Forest, I only died 551 times. The game very helpfully kept track for me and gave me a visual reminder every time I hit pause to catch my breath and/or cry.

To be honest, I didn’t really know what I was getting into with Ori, but it seemed like I had so little to lose back then: it was on sale, it was well-reviewed, and its graphics were gorgeous. Even if I had reservations about playing as anything remotely resembling a furry, I dove in. I thought it looked like a cute little game. I was so young then, so very naive.

I’d heard the term “Metroidvania” before. No, I had never played a game like it, but I knew that Samus was kick-ass in Super Smash Bros, and I'd watched the pilot of the Netflix Castlevania anime, so I thought I had a pretty solid background in the hybrid genre. Surely there would be no further prerequisites. I could do this. It was just a platformer, right? Something like Super Mario but for furries. (Oh wait, that's already a thing.)

But was wrong. It was hard. It was SUPER HARD.

To be fair, it had been a while since I’d played what Waypoint Radio might refer to as a “video-game-ass video game,” if this even counted as one. For the past three years, I’ve been pretty busy -- and pretty stressed -- so I pretty much limited my video gaming to weekly jaunts through my heavily-hacked Animal Crossing: New Leaf town (aka, my happy place).

The pace of an Animal Crossing stroll is perhaps somewhat more leisurely than that of a Metroidvania platformer. That, and Animal Crossing has far fewer buttons to remember. Essentially, you hold a tool, you hit “A,” and it does the thing. In Ori, my left hand was constantly playing its own little game of Twister on the keyboard while my right hand swirled the large glass of wine I inevitably poured myself after dying in the Ginso Tree for what felt like the 300th time.

It was somewhere around the 150 mark that I switched the difficulty down the easy, but apparently, I needed “baby mode” because it took me another 20 minutes of fatalities to get through it.

A Piping Hot Take on Gameplay

It’s very possible that the wine didn’t help my already rusted reflexes, but in my defense, I was a little stressed, alright? Which is a shame, because the forest itself was breathtaking. When I wasn’t running, hopping, or gliding for my life, I couldn't help but admire the sheer scope of the world I was tasked with saving.

The forest of Nibel was -- and still is -- gorgeous and sprawling, with vast contrasts between areas that somehow manage to be disparate but also part of a cohesive whole. It was a world I enjoyed inhabiting, no matter how hard it tried to kill me at every turn (hence the wine).

I’m pretty sure I spent all nine hours at the edge of my desk chair, checking and re-checking the edges of my screen for whatever ungodly disaster was about to chase me across the map next.

Speaking of which, the map itself is the true adversary in Ori and the Blind Forest. The enemies, all of whom could've been ripped out of an Epic Mickey demo, were fairly predictable, but that’s not so much a complaint as it is a blessing. If I’d have faced anything more complex from those dudes, me and my phosphorescent spirit guide would’ve told this forest to go f- ...save itself.

The repetition gave me the practice I needed to master the game's moves and eventually (read: FINALLY) start sewing them together for some really satisfying platform traversal. It was just around when Ori started feeling like an extension of myself and not like a dumb little fox puppet that I beat the game and deleted it from my desktop forever.

The Story: Quick as a Fox, Subtle as a Tsunami

Clearly, I’m not planning on replaying this one with my newly abundant free time, and despite how visually impressive the sequel promises to be, I’m just not invested enough in Nibel to take another trip through its thorny brambles.

The plot
almost saved it for me, as plot often does in games. I’ve played through a lot of bad sequels just because I’ve felt just a little connected to the games' characters, but here, I just… don’t. I feel nothing. This little fox thing and its inarticulate friends mean nothing to me.

It’s possible that I’m this heartless because when I watched Bambi as a child, my mother very pointedly told me exactly how she felt about the perceived demonization of hunters in children’s media. So when Bambi’s mom died (oh, crap, spoiler alert), my little brain was too full of rural Midwestern deer-culling discourse to develop empathy for woodland creatures caught on the wheels of the circle of life.

Sure, the relationship between Ori and Naru is sweet and (actual spoiler alert) it was sad when Naru seemed to starve to death at the end of happy-times-prologue-berry-season, but a bigger part of me was like, “Oh, thank God I don’t have to play as that giant sloth again.” (Although, yeah, about that...)

Besides a few twists and turns, the set-up here is pretty straightforward. You’re a fox-thing named Ori that’s supposed to restore the three elements (essentially: water, air, and fire, because screw the earth) and save the forest before an enormous owl kills you in retribution for the indirect part you played in ruining her life.

The owl, Kuro, is probably the most interesting character -- a mother equal parts protective and vindictive -- and definitely has the best character design, but that’s probably because you can’t mess up a giant demon owl. You just can’t. By comparison, the other characters come off a little clumsy. There’s something kind of bulbous about their designs and movements that makes it hard to imagine them outside the flat plane of a side-scroller.

Oh, and guiding you on your journey is a little pixie-thing called “Sein”, who takes you from one spirit grave to the next so you can absorb their sweet platforming powers in a move that doesn’t at all resemble necromancy.

There’s also some deeply earnest voiceover work from the Spirit Tree, which occasionally chimes in with a made-up gibberish language (and floaty, mystical subtitles) to say something fake-deep and almost embarrassing to read. The whole plot felt like it had me in an emotional chokehold, hitting me over the head again and again with just the hammiest sentimentality, begging me to care about the epic plight of its characters. And each time it did, I cared just a little less.

So long-story-short, it was a little hard for me to feel for Ori beyond the fact that every time I led its fragile fox body into another fatality, I felt a stab of guilt for being unable to complete even the most basic Metroidvanian maneuvers. Also because I’m pretty sure “forest guardians” are an endangered species. I should really be more responsible.

The Fandom Freak-Out: NIBEL

Luckily, the game undeniably succeeds in one area: the music. Looking back, it was the overwhelming praise for the OST that drew me to Ori in the first place. As the kids would say, I’m a slut for VGM, and composer Gareth Coker delivers the goods. While admittedly, the main theme isn’t my absolute fave (a little overwrought, in my opinion, and a total earworm in the worst way), it’s impressive how the rest of the album outshines what’s supposed to be the headliner. Each track feels carefully constructed, with soaring highs and somber lows that could tell a story on its own. Paired with the visuals, it’s an orchestral treat that brings Ori’s world to life.

Where Ori's narrative laid out its wide-cut arcs with hammy-fists, the orchestration drew out its nuance. I’ve been listening to Materia Collective's NIBEL (see below) basically on a loop at work, and with each playthrough, I’m amazed at how Materia Collective takes an already intricate musical score and not only dives into it from every angle, but makes me want to take the plunge back into the Blind Forest myself.

While there’s a lot to love here (and a whole spectrum of reasons to love it), my favorite track has to be “The Waters Cleansed” by David Russell (a Materia Collective regular, and a core member of the Project Destati trio). While my feelings may be somewhat skewed by the intense relief I felt after clearing the Ginso Tree (very wine-drunk at two in the morning), I can say with certainty that I can imagine no better representation for Ori’s brand of hopefulness than Russell’s gorgeously delicate arrangement.

The Final Swallow

Am I glad I played Ori? Absolutely. It was a weird experience to be sure. Sometimes beautiful. Often infuriating. But always unique. It’s like a mosh pit! Not exactly my cup of tea, but something I’m glad to have experienced just once. And never again.

This week’s “Fandom Freak-Out” goes to Materia Collective’s NIBEL: Ori and the Blind Forest Remixed. It’s an impressive 37-track tribute to Coker’s work, featuring over 50 composers, arrangers, and artists.

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Food Fantasy Preview: Just Enough Cooks In The Kitchen, and They Are All Waifus https://www.gameskinny.com/0a8nf/food-fantasy-preview-just-enough-cooks-in-the-kitchen-and-they-are-all-waifus https://www.gameskinny.com/0a8nf/food-fantasy-preview-just-enough-cooks-in-the-kitchen-and-they-are-all-waifus Fri, 06 Jul 2018 13:30:43 -0400 Ty Arthur

Based on the title you might think we're not compiling delicious Arby's video game memes again (no such luck, although now I'm hungry). Instead, Food Fantasy is its own game coming soon to mobile platforms that aims to dethrone some of the biggest mobile names by starting a food fight.

What sets this game apart from the horde of similar titles crowding the Google and Apple app stores? Food Fantasy brings a whole bunch of cooks into one kitchen, and for once that's not a disaster waiting to happen.

There are some killer cooking games on the Switch right now, and freemium gacha titles continue to be the rage around the world, so it makes sense to combine them into one fan service-heavy package.

Important Note: This is an advanced preview build and not the final product! Expect big changes and some smoothing out of various features when the game lands July 20th.

 The layout and resources will be familiar, and there's plenty of eye candy

Whipped, Mashed, Pureed, And Fried

You get a gacha creature summoner, a lite JRPG, and a restaurant sim all in one with the cross-genre Food Fantasy. This is a game about running a restaurant and then battling fallen angels with anthropomorphic food.. that it's clear you kinda want to bang.

Yeah, you read that last part right. Loads of waifu / fan service stuff is going on here, along with plenty of innuendo in the text and imagery. I've never really wanted to get it on with milk before, but this game might change your mind on that front.

When the cuties aren't trying to get senpai to notice them, you'll be busy developing and improving recipes, assigning cooks, prepping meals and completing quests.

All the typical freemium resources are up for grabs, which are earned through the restaurant portion of the game, with upgrades and other items acquired through battle. Of course you also summon "food souls" that are creatures of randomized strength, then upgrade, fuse, and evolve them in various ways.

Just for fun, then there's also a JRPG / visual novel storyline mode keeping it all held together. There's no question that you've seen and heard all of this before, but its presented in a new and frankly kind of amazing way.

 That is in fact sentient, female tea that's dual wielding pistols

Gotta Keep Tapping!

Whether beating up delinquents who don't pay their bills at your restaurant or battling demon things out in the wilderness, there's quite a bit of combat in Food Fantasy.

This is all handled in your typical auto battle way, but there's more player engagement than you'd expect and you can't really just walk away and have the game grind itself while plowing through your energy reserves.

Of course you've got to decide when to deploy creature skills as in any gacha, but that's just the beginning. Another layer is added by having to time tapping boss weak points to prevent super abilities from being used, swatting away healing helpers that revive enemies, and breaking your fighters out of traps.

 All that chibi genocide is so you can get ingredients to make the perfect meal!

The Bottom Line

To be clear, FF is an utterly ludicrous game with an exceedingly tongue-in-cheek attitude, but there's a ton to do and the mixing of styles is handled well.

Food Fantasy knows exactly what kind of game it is, and doesn't shy away from leaning into that silliness. Baby bottles drip healing milk during battles with evil rabbits trying to club you with carrots, while every anime cliche you can think of will fly across your screen during conversation segments.

Somehow this all works out for a genuinely fun time in a game that seems like it should just be a time wasting mobile entry but manages to be more than that.

 How many games let you get licked to death by a tentacle lady wielding an eyeball fork?

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The Best Darkest Dungeon Nude Mods -- Yes, They Exist https://www.gameskinny.com/fq6yk/the-best-darkest-dungeon-nude-mods-yes-they-exist https://www.gameskinny.com/fq6yk/the-best-darkest-dungeon-nude-mods-yes-they-exist Thu, 28 Jun 2018 14:21:46 -0400 Ty Arthur

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What did you think of our picks for the best Darkest Dungeon nude mods, and will you be installing any of these? Let us know if we missed any must-have mods in the comments section below!

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Still looking for more gameplay focused mods to tweak the experience that don't bring on the bewbies? Check out our roundup of the best current Darkest Dungeon mods over here instead. 

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But if you are searching for more nude mods in general, here are some articles to get you started: 

\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/c/r/u/crusaderspriteattack-charge-d7991.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/r/u/crusaderspriteattack-charge-d7991.png","type":"slide","id":"185369","description":"

Bonus: Shindol Skins

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So, there's not actually any breasts or exposed genitals in this one, but if you know who hentai artist Shindol is, you'll want to grab these anyway.

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You get three re-skins (two for the Crusader and one for the Hellion) that are adorable in a very waifu sort of way, and it really makes it all the more horrible when bad things happen to them in the dungeon!

"},{"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/e/s/desires-a75b6.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/e/s/desires-a75b6.png","type":"slide","id":"185361","description":"

Darkest Desires

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Originally released on Nexus Mods, this nude mod ended up going directly to Lovers Lab as time went on due to its overtly sexual nature. This one goes in some pretty dark and fetishistic directions, so be prepared. From foot worship to forced sex with the abomination, they don't pull any punches here.

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Darkest Desires changes up the game's existing camping skills and adds in new ones for a very different take on "stress relief." You'll never look at the image of three swords pointing toward the vestal in the same way again!

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Be sure to grab this one quick, as it hasn't been updated in awhile, and all the patches for the Color Of Madness DLC will probably break it before too long.

"},{"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/k/i/skins-4ac3e.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/k/i/skins-4ac3e.png","type":"slide","id":"185368","description":"

Sexy Town Skins

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There have been plenty of hero and enemy reskins, but don't think we're going to leave out the NPCs in the hamlet!

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This nifty little mod replaces the skins for characters in the abbey, blacksmith, and camping trainer section to be a bit more alluring and revealing. If you've got a thing for nuns -- or just a thing for nude townsfolk in a dark, medieval setting, this is most likely the mod 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/t/o/p/topless-858ad.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/o/p/topless-858ad.png","type":"slide","id":"185366","description":"

Topless Cultists

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It's not just the poor, doomed heroes who get in on the nude mod action. You can also remove the clothing of the evil cultists trying to sacrifice your crew to ancient, dead gods!

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I suppose, in a way, it makes sense -- I doubt cultists who slaughter innocents and gibber insane secrets to themselves care much about modesty, so why shouldn't they be topless while fighting?

"},{"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/darkest-dungeon-nude-vestal-1cbc2.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/r/darkest-dungeon-nude-vestal-1cbc2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"185370","description":"

Russian Nude Vestal

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It should go without saying that the Vestal gets her own nude mod as well! While this one has some killer anime-style artwork, my only reservation is that it really doesn't match the rest of the Darkest Dungeon assets.

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While the other mods here all stick to the base game style, this one clashes pretty hard with the dark colors. But if that sort of things doesn't bother you in the slightest, this is a nude mod you'll most likely want to add to your collection. 

"},{"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/thehood-eb55c.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/thehood-eb55c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"185367","description":"

The Hood

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A brothel worker seems to have come off the wagon along with all those crusaders and highwaymen, and she apparently wants to go dungeon delving as well!

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This is a reworking for the Antiquarian class, with quite a bit of exposed behind added in for good measure. A gory, prostitute version of Little Red Riding Hood is a pretty specific fetish, but I'm sure it ticks all the right boxes for somebody out there.

"},{"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/f/f/offering-20254.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/o/f/f/offering-20254.png","type":"slide","id":"185363","description":"

The Offering 2.0

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OK, this one's sort of nude-ish in comparison to some of the previous mods we've listed, but the outfit on this new class is definitely skimpy, and there is some light nipple appearance in her various combat poses.

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The Offering was supposed to be sacrificed to some evil entity, who chose instead, as a cruel joke, to steal her heart and give her another's. She's a tank hybrid meant to be played on the frontline, and she's not exactly hard on the eyes while she's up there either...

"},{"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/l/hollow-35778.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/h/o/l/hollow-35778.png","type":"slide","id":"185362","description":"

LW -- Hollow Sexy Skin

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The Hollow is a back row healer class with a ghostly twist, and she also happens to not be wearing much while she delves into those diabolical dungeons! This re-skin of the class offers up a very distinctive hentai style if you don't dig the base imagery.

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Note that to use this reskin, you first need to have the Hollow custom class mod installed. There's also an alternate re-colored version of the Hollow with different options available over 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/a/f/r/african-593e8.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/a/f/r/african-593e8.png","type":"slide","id":"185359","description":"

Urian Hellion African Princess Topless Reskin

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More than just removing the top portion of the outfit to expose the breasts, this reskin completely changes the Hellion's appearance while retaining her more wild aspects.

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There are a couple of animations that aren't quite perfect, but overall, the changes to the jewelry, tattoos, and ax blade make for a satisfying addition to the female lineup if you want a different appearance for the Hellion.

"},{"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/e/m/femaleleper-82a3b.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/e/m/femaleleper-82a3b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"185352","description":"

Naked Female Leper Skin

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I think we all suspected that the religious ladies in Darkest Dungeon have got it going on underneath those habits and robes, but now you can know for sure with the naked female leper!

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All of her various animations are changed to nude, from the alluring camping pose to the shocked animation when gaining an affliction.

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It's sort of odd that a leper would have such welcoming, smooth skin... but hey, this is "porn", not reality. And for those who want a more "realistic" experience, there is a properly messed up version of the naked leper class you can find by searching around on Lovers Lab.

"},{"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/l/hellion-5779d.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/l/hellion-5779d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"185350","description":"

For a game like Darkest Dungeon, one that's all about going mad and dying while battling eldritch monstrosities from beyond, you wouldn't think there'd be much demand for nude mods. However, you'd also be dead wrong.

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Recent titles like Agony and Lust For Darkness have shown that there's a market for sexed-up horror games, and the modding community hasn't let down the pervs who want a little nudie action while getting butchered by fish people.

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Weirdly, not many of the current mods focus on tentacles, which seems like the obvious way to go for a game with such clear Lovecraftian tones as this one. That oversight aside, there's plenty of nude DD mods to try out!

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Note: The various bouncy bits have been mildly edited out in the slides to come, but obviously, they are on full display in the mods themselves. Keep in mind to view some of these mods you must also be logged into Nexus Mods and have the adult content option turned on.

"}]]]>
The Banner Saga 3 Preview: Act 3 of a Long, Heroic Journey https://www.gameskinny.com/j0y76/the-banner-saga-3-preview-act-3-of-a-long-heroic-journey https://www.gameskinny.com/j0y76/the-banner-saga-3-preview-act-3-of-a-long-heroic-journey Wed, 27 Jun 2018 09:00:01 -0400 Emily (Pokeflute)

There’s no doubt The Banner Saga is one of the most well-received indie RPGs in recent memory. It's a fantastic franchise that uses great gameplay to support a deep story.

There's also no doubt that series fans are eagerly awaiting the series' third installment, The Banner Saga 3. Allegedly the final act to indie turn-based strategy series, there's a lot riding on the shoulders of The Banner Saga 3 -- especially for series loyalists.

Building upon the intriguing mythological Norse narrative of the first two games, this entry puts players back into a rich, embattled world full of nefarious dark forces bent on its destruction. Whether the final product wraps the story together in neat bundle remains to be seen, but thanks to developer Stoic, we were able to get a glimpse of the game's first three chapters.

Here's what we saw.

*Some minor spoilers follow, so read on at your own risk.

Starting Out on Our New, Yet Familiar Journey

Much like The Banner Saga 2 brought over your progress from the first game, the series' latest installment will carry over your choices from the previous two games if they’re on your system or PC.

If you haven’t played the first two entries (or don't have the save data on your system of PC), you'll start by making BS2’s big ending choice. If you've yet to finish BS2, I won't spoil the ending for you here, but you won't have to worry about starting completely fresh whether you're a newcomer or not.

The game includes a tutorial for those who haven’t played before or need a refresher. It does a good job of not only teaching you how to move and attack, but it gives you tips to help formulate strategies later on. It’s a short but effective tutorial, although I do wish it had included a little bit more information about different classes and weapons.

Right from the start, the game is just as gorgeous as it's ever been, with hair and capes moving elegantly in the wind and vibrant colors striking a deep contrast to the game's more subdued environmental palettes. And rounding out the artistic feel of this entry, the sound effects in The Banner Saga 3 are also great: they rise, fall, and change according to dialogue and the game's soundtrack, making the game feel very cohesive.

Making Choices and Doing Battle

A short cinematic introduces the first chapter of our preview, and right off the bat, your choices matter. You can choose to be coy or ask difficult questions of yourself and the game's characters, but in the series' ultimate chapter, the decisions you make carry even more weight than before.

Like previous games in the franchise, there’s no telling what impacts your choices could have on future events, but if you've ever played a Banner Saga game before, you know it's always wise to choose carefully as the answers you give have the potential to alter major events in the game.

It would be nice if the game had a command to toggle all enemies’ available move areas -- much like Fire Emblem does.

And the same can be said of choosing your layout for each battle and encounter. After choosing your units, the game allows you to arrange them prior to the start of the battle. It’s nice that the game asks you for confirmation when moving, acting, and ending a turn -- especially if you’re guilty of making hasty or accidental decisions in strategy games, so this helps to prevent you from making an error.

It would be nice if the game had a command to toggle all enemies’ available move areas -- much like Fire Emblem does. It would help lure enemies toward you so you receive a movement advantage, but as far as we can tell, that is currently not in the game.

On top of that, some battles follow the formula explored in The Banner Saga 2: environmental hazards. In our demo, fire was the hobgoblin waylaying our warriors on the battlefield. This specific hazard forces your units to move out of the way or risk strength damage. Growing every few turns, the hazard adds a strategic layer to battles -- making it feel as if the map itself was after our party. 

Unit promotion is back as well, and I used it to give one of my party members a new title: “Twice-Born.” Promotions allow access to new active and passive skills; this one allows the affected party member to revive with one STR/WIL after dying. They’re useful wrinkles that you’ll be pretty familiar with at this point -- not ones you should ignore by any means.

Finally, a new kind of combat called "waves combat" is introduced in our demo. The idea here is that you last as long as you can against waves of enemies, and if you defeat the final boss, you earn a powerful item. It’s similar in some ways to survival mode in The Banner Saga 2. You can choose to flee between waves with no penalty. After the first round of this battle, we decided to flee, as only two of our units were still standing.

Assembling the Clans

In our demo, there wasn’t a whole lot “new” to the tried and true Banner Saga formula. If you liked the first two games, there’s a good chance you’re going to like The Banner Saga 3 as well. You’ll find some difficult strategic decisions here, both on the character management and resource management fronts.

We really enjoyed the strategic combat that the series is known for, and the art and animation are as beautiful as ever. On the downside, the music seems to be a little more generic than that of past entries, and we had a little difficulty with unit control on the battlefield (sometimes units will get hidden behind others, making it difficult to accurately command them). There are also some distracting grammatical errors in the game’s dialogue, but hopefully, those will be fixed before launch.

On the whole, we’re looking forward to finishing the game and seeing what the ending brings. With all the twists and turns that the first three chapters alone have had, we’re sure that the ending will be a treat to experience.

The Banner Saga 3 will come out on July 26 for PC/Mac, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch, with a mobile version coming at a later date.

[Note: The developer provided the copy of The Banner Saga 3 used in this preview.]

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Preview: Warhammer 40K Goes 4X With Gladius - Relics Of War https://www.gameskinny.com/16rg0/preview-warhammer-40k-goes-4x-with-gladius-relics-of-war https://www.gameskinny.com/16rg0/preview-warhammer-40k-goes-4x-with-gladius-relics-of-war Mon, 25 Jun 2018 15:11:19 -0400 Ty Arthur

Its always a total toss-up as to what you might get with this very hit or miss franchise when Games Workshop decides to throw their name at the dart board of development teams. For every Vermintide 2 or Dawn Of War there's a host of half-assed mobile games and random excursions into other genres that don't quite work as well as anyone hopes.

The breadth of styles offered in Warhammer games has exploded over the years, as we've now had real-time strategy, third-person action-adventure, action RPG, MMO, and even first-person shooters in the 40K universe.

Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics Of War (boy that's a mouthful) again shakes things up on the genre front, which is always a gamble. Will Gears Of War work as a cutesy POP game? Can Fallout survive chasing the trend of online survival mode? These things are always just so hard to tell ... 

But now we're finally landing on the turn-based 4X genre with Gladius, and I'm very pleased to report that so far, it's a much better fit than some of the subpar recent Warhammer offerings.

Note: We're currently evaluating an early preview build of the game that only features the space marine campaign. Some elements will change and Gladius will launch with access to the Necrons, Orks, and Astra Militarum factions on July 12. We'll update this article into a full review once we get the complete release version.

 Heresy detected!

Translating The Imperium Of Man To A 4X Strategy Game

At its core, Gladius is complex like a 4X game should be, but while still being manageable. A helpful red button in the corner reminds you of what can be done each turn so you don't accidentally waste any time without researching, requisitioning new units, claiming tiles, and so on. However, there are still lots of ways to mess yourself up if you don't figure out the strategy.

You'll be juggling influence, requisition, population, energy, research points, and expansion versus avoiding conflict while trying to tame a planet besieged on all sides.

It's easy to get overwhelmed if you are ranging too far afield and trying to grab everything without building up a solid defensive line first, as enemies will chase you back to your base and annihilate you in huge waves.

Along the way, as you run your space marine chapter, you will choose new abilities for your heroes and select equipment upgrades that will be familiar to Dawn Of War players.

 This big guy and his group of enginseer heretics annihilated my paltry two squads of space marines

An Indie Offering In AAA Wrapping

In general, this feels like a big-budget 4X game. It isn't missing any of the elements or polish that typically plague indie excursions (the map scrolling is frankly better than Civilization 6 had at launch). On the other hand, there are a couple of animations and unit models look noticeably on the indie side.

Killer music and sound effects ramp up the atmosphere, like bullets and lascannon blasts pinging off robotic armor. Fans of the lore will also be pleased by the presence of enemy types you don't see much on other 40K games, such as the Enslavers.

Four factions are available at launch, which obviously is quite a bit fewer than in your typical Civ entry, but if they all play as well as the space marines then I'm looking forward to trying out the other three and playing them into the ground, with hope for more factions as an expansion in the future.

Masochists who only want that stupidly complex 4X experience that takes weeks to learn and months of reading to master might be disappointed by the simplified nature of Gladius, but anyone else will likely love this take on the genre. It's complex while still being accessible, and the 40K motif is undeniably awesome.

 ...but it's not like you will be lacking in resources to juggle!

The Bottom Line on Gladius - Relics Of War 

Gladius is essentially Civilization meets Dawn Of War, and that's as epic and awesome as it sounds. 4X fans and 40K fans are going to want to pick this one up immediately.

This is one of those (exceedingly rare) instances where Games Workshop throwing the Warhammer license at an unknown team resulted in a smash hit success that was well worth the risk.

Now that we've finally gotten a 4X entry that's worth playing I'm going to have to keep repeating this mantra over and over until it happens -- next up we need a single player RPG in the vein of Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines. This universe is ripe for that sort of experience, so get it on it already GW!

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Is Nintendo Finally Embracing The Competitive Smash Scene? https://www.gameskinny.com/u26su/is-nintendo-finally-embracing-the-competitive-smash-scene https://www.gameskinny.com/u26su/is-nintendo-finally-embracing-the-competitive-smash-scene Fri, 22 Jun 2018 12:39:04 -0400 RobotsFightingDinosaurs

Now that the dust has finally settled from Nintendo's E3 presentation and the curtain has been raised on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, we're finally getting a sense of what we can expect from Nintendo's flagship fighting game series when it launches this December.

And oddly enough, the new features, changes, and additions seem different this time around. For a company (and a creator in Masahiro Sakurai) that are infamous for refusing to listen to input from fans, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate sure seems like it has been inspired by the competitive community.

Nintendo's History (or Lack Thereof) with the Competitive Smash Community

Ask any competitive Super Smash Bros. player about Nintendo's support of the community, no matter what their game of choice is, and you'll likely get the same answer: They don't care.

And that has held true ever since the original game came out. Nintendo has positioned the Super Smash Bros. series as a casual fighter meant for parties, and has historically been very resistant to the concept that it can be played in any kind of codified professional way. 

Nintendo never hosts official Smash tournaments outside the occasional invitational event. They rarely sponsor major fighting game tournaments either. Nintendo's relationship with people who play Smash competitively has been tumultuous at best, and at worst, outright hostile.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl probably represents the worst of this. After years of refusing to provide financial support to tournaments that featured Melee, Brawl released and was incredibly well-received, but the addition of random tripping and lack of patching meant that Brawl would never be as accepted by the competitive community as Melee was. This was by design. To Nintendo, playing these games competitively was playing the game the wrong way. 

This even continued through the last generation of games. Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS featured online play, sure, but the For Glory mode of play seemed like an afterthought, seeing as team battles were restricted to time mode, and the only legal stages were Final Destination clones.

Adding to this is the fact that Nintendo seemed hell-bent on denying that the Melee competitive scene even existed until the Smash Invitational last week, save for a few grudging (and awkward) appearances from select pro players. It was jarring to see so many Melee players featured in Nintendo's intro video to the Smash Invitational last week because they've avoided the scene until that point.

Fan Complaints

The competitive scene for Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS remains strong to this day, but as a competitive game, pro players have a lot of gripes with it. The game rewards defensive play, staying in shield, and waiting for your opponent to move first. If this sounds boring, that's because it can be.

There are plenty of other complaints too. There are very few stages that are suitable for competitive play, and as more characters got added to the game, that list got whittled down even further by tournament organizers. DLC characters caused controversy as well, even before Bayonetta witch-twisted her way into the top 8 of every tournament. Nobody liked playing against Cloud because of Finishing Touch (which was nerfed, but still). There were tons of arguments about "toxic" characters, and certain regions banned Bayonetta from play altogether, much like Meta Knight was banned in Brawl.

At first, Omega Stages seemed like a concession to the competitive community, but turning a stage into Final Destination didn't really prove to be all that much of a boon unless the normal Final Destination stage gave you eye strain.

In a lot of ways, the Wii U entry in the series seemed like a half-hearted concession to the competitive community. They look like they're going to go the whole nine yards for the Switch entry.

Times Are A-Changin'

All this is to say that Nintendo finds itself in a precarious situation leading up to the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. They don't want the skill barrier to be as high as it was in Melee, but they want to reward the competitive community that has spent years learning these games. 

What they've come up with so far seems to be toeing that line beautifully. The return of directional air dodges is a great concession to the Melee community, who will be waiting with bated breath over whether or not wavedashing will be a viable mechanic in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. They've made short hop aerials, a popular approach advanced technique, a whole lot easier to perform. They've not only added Omega Stages back, but they've also added Battlefield variants for each stage, and included the ability to turn off stage hazards. (This is already a sticking point for many tournament organizers -- what happens if there are too many legal stages?)

The change that has Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS fans salivating is that they have added a significant penalty for rolling and dodging. They want to foster a more aggressive style of play which will, ideally, lead to more stunning and exciting moments (which will now be highlighted with a short slowdown cutscene). 

Now, of course, time will tell whether or not this represents a change in strategy for the company. There's no guarantee that Nintendo will suddenly start sponsoring local tournaments or hosting their own. Hell, there's no guarantee they'll fix Bayonetta. 

But for now, competitive Smash fans are feeling like Nintendo has given them everything that they've asked for. 

Well, everything except for Geno.

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Everything We Know About Fallout 76 (So Far) https://www.gameskinny.com/f6akc/everything-we-know-about-fallout-76-so-far https://www.gameskinny.com/f6akc/everything-we-know-about-fallout-76-so-far Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:22:10 -0400 Sergey_3847

Initially, Fallout 76 was conceived as a multiplayer component of Fallout 4. But Bethesda had to start everything from scratch and re-invent the technology behind the old mechanics for it to work. As a result, Fallout 76 became a whole other separate game, the actual development of which was given to another studio.

Now it's been more than two weeks since the announcement of Fallout 76, but the game has not yet appeared on Steam. However, it is already available for the pre-order at the official Bethesda website. Although this doesn't mean anything, some fans of the Fallout series are seriously worried that Bethesda may completely refuse to release all of their future games through the Valve service.

Before making the decision of pre-purchasing the beta version of the game, first you may want to learn about the game as much as possible. So here are some of the most essential facts about the upcoming Fallout game so far.

What is Fallout 76?

Fallout 76 is a new kind of survival MMO. It is a logical continuation of the ideas that were first implemented in Fallout 4, with one exception -- all players are real people. At the same time, it was important for Bethesda to preserve the feeling of a single-player experience. This means that if you don't want to constantly fight other players, you can simply explore the world around you.

Up to 32 people can play on the server with a map that is four times larger than Fallout 4 (see below for more info). The encounters with other players should be rare so that you can safely explore the world, complete quests and build bases. So this is good news for those who feel more comfortable playing alone.

The Map and The Setting

This time the location of the Fallout game will be West Virginia, but instead of familiar wastelands and large cities the game offers the views on the virgin forests, high mountains and many other peculiar biomes of the American outback.

Players will start in gorgeous locations and later move onto the more sombre, apocalyptic biomes, such as grim marshes, toxic heaths and so on. According to the plot, the shelter 76 will be the first to open among the rest, and then our job will be to re-conquer the planet. This will involve fighting against mutated animals, insects, plants, ghouls, and other strange creatures. 

The developers created a place for exploration: a fascinating and rich world where people will discover new locations, gather resources, and possibly, meet other survivors. You will be able to trade food and items that you have crafted yourself.

West Virginia is a peculiar location with its own special mythology, which is reflected in both quests and in the design of the locations, such as empty huts, fire towers, flooded mines, golf courses, abandoned provincial houses, a fallen space station and a real presidential bunker of the Cold War era with nuclear weapons.

Overall, the entire map is divided into six regions:

  • The Forest
  • Toxic Valley
  • Ash Heap
  • Savage Divide
  • The Mire
  • Cranberry Bog

Gameplay Mechanics

Fallout 76 will have a rich, yet simple, intuitive and easy-to-use building system, lots of crafting capabilities and other cool new features. Since this is a survival game, you will also have to eat and drink. The items will break, the food will rot, and from time to time you will encounter radioactive storms.

But that's far from it, and below you will find a lot more details on the gameplay itself:

RPG System
  • The role-playing system is also re-vamped and quite entertaining.
  • Characters will get controversial mutations, in some way beneficial, and in others not really.
  • They can be treated or modified.
  • Some will change only the appearance, while others will also influence the stats.
  • Upon reaching a certain level you will be offered perks that can be used to form perk decks.
  • There will be a lot of various animations for communication and photo modes.
Building and Crafting
  • In addition to your stationary base you can also build portable C.A.M.P.s, which can be placed anywhere on the map.
  • Besides C.A.M.P.s you can claim public workshops by clearing them. For example, you could claim a Lead Mine, which would then become a consistent source of metal for your bullets.
  • You can craft any items you like given that you have all the necessary materials, whether it's guns, armor or consumables.
  • You can specialize in crafting special materials that other players may want to buy from you.
Nukes
  • Nukes become available after you finish the main campaign.
  • In order to launch the nuke you need to access the launch codes that become available after completing certain side-quests.
  • Nukes are used to create high-level loot-rich areas for plundering.
  • Nukes can be dropped on other players.
Future Updates
  • Microtransactions are also planned, but, as stated by the developers, they will not affect the gameplay.
  • Bethesda also promises regular updates for the next few years, because, according to the developers, online games live for as long as they are well supported.
  • The updates are planned to be both small and very large, so this could mean that over time new regions on the map will be added.
  • Mods and private lobbies will be implemented in future updates as well.

All New Confirmed Creatures

There will be over 60 various types of creatures in Fallout 76 with different degrees of mutations making them look absolutely terrifying. Among the good old creatures that we've seen in the previous Fallout installments, here are all the new confirmed creatures coming to Fallout 76:

  • Scorchbeast: Extremely aggressive giant bat-like creature that can fly and live underground.
  • Snallygaster: Typical reptilian creature that walks on two legs.
  • Mega Sloth: Giant poisonous sloth that is covered with rotten fur.
  • Grafton Monster: Beast with pale skin and a giant arm.
  • Mutated Toad: Giant radioactive frog.
  • Mothman: Mythical creature from the West Virgianian folklore that has big bright eyes and sneaks up on its prey.
  • Scorched: Semi-feral ghouls that can use weapons.
  • Mole People: Humanoids with gas masks that live inside the mines.
  • Mutated Giant Bee: Giant radioactive bee that carries entire hive of smaller bees.
  • Tick: Giant blood-sucking six-legged arachnid.
  • Wendigo: Extremely fast and mobile humanoid that lives on swamps.
  • Two-Headed Possum: A giant mutated possum with two heads.
  • Intelligent Plants: Plants with brains and sneaky tactics that can consume flesh and bones.
  • Vault Dweller: Human NPC that resides in the vaults; can be either friendly or hostile.
  • Flatwoods Monster: Alien creature with a suite and a propulsion system that keeps it afloat.

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That is all we know about Fallout 76 for now, but be sure to come back soon for more updates on the game here at GameSkinny!

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MomoCon 2018: Troy Baker, Nolan North Talk Creativity, Process, and The Last of Us Part 2 https://www.gameskinny.com/wk51n/momocon-2018-troy-baker-nolan-north-talk-creativity-process-and-the-last-of-us-part-2 https://www.gameskinny.com/wk51n/momocon-2018-troy-baker-nolan-north-talk-creativity-process-and-the-last-of-us-part-2 Mon, 28 May 2018 17:26:50 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Troy Baker and Nolan North are two of the most famous voice actors on the planet. Although they’ve worked in other areas outside of video games, both are most known for their work in series such as Uncharted, The Last of Us, and God of War, just to name a few. 

At MomoCon 2018 in Atlanta, GA, the duo took some time out of their day to speak with the media about creativity, process, and a little bit about The Last of Us: Part 2.

Although Baker obviously couldn't speak specifically to the story or plot of The Last of Us: Part 2 lest he incur the wrath of Naughty Dog's Vice President, Neil Druckman, he was able to talk about how the game compares to the original. 

The conversation about what The Last of Us: Part 2, or even if there was going to be a part two, has been, obviously, a five year conversation. It started at the BAFTAs one year in London outside of a bar late at night, and Neil said, 'I think I have an idea'. And at that point I didn't know -- and maybe he did -- but I had no idea we were going to do [a sequel] or not ....

[The Last of Us: Part 2] doesn't compare [to The Last of Us part one]. It can't compare. When we start comparing, we fail. So it in no way compares to The Last Of Us part one. It is part two. It is a a continuation of the story. It is not a comparison. 

Moving on from specific titles and moving into more generalized territory, both North and Baker also touched on what it means to be creative when voice acting, as well as how to channel personality into a wide array of characters and roles.

When asked how to take on established characters while still providing something new in each performance, Baker and North said there are two important things to remember: be the character that's been written but also be  yourself. Putting pieces of your personality into each character you play makes the performance even more believable.  

Baker said it's very important to honor the character and not try to make it better. When voice actors try to make characters better by either competing with themselves or other actors, the performance doesn't come off as genuine. 

North echoed that sentiment, saying it's important to  

Impart your own sense of who you are... If you're playing a character named Mark, don't go in saying 'How does Mark walk and think?', it's like 'OK, it's Nolan who happens to be Mark'. 

Nathan Drake was just me. And for some reason [Naughty Dog] chose me. 

The duo also touched on working with writers and directors to achieve a specific, collective vision. Staying both within and venturing outside of the confines of a script or story, they talked about the importance of flexibility, creativity, and the writer/director/actor relationship.

Nolan said 

Ideas occur to you. There were a couple of times we've done things where it's scripted and we've said 'You should take my line, and I'll take yours' because it just seems like [one character would say that over the other]. Fortunately, we work with a lot of people -- good writers -- that are also humble enough to say 'Yeah, that's a good idea. Switch that up'. 

A good director/actor relationship ... you will give them what's on the page, what they want, and then they will allow you to go, 'Can we try something?,' and they go, 'Yeah, let's roll one.' They can decide later in editing [if it works or not]. But for them to be cool enough to go, 'Yes, you gave me what I think I need, show me what you're thinking and it might change my mind' ... it's a collaboration. 

Baker agreed, saying

A good director will allow themselves to be surprised and allow their vision to be fluid ... I always bring up Neil Druckman because he'll ask you, 'What do you think?', but he has an answer in his back pocket. His goal is not to lead you to his answer -- his goal is to understand your answer. That's what, fundamentally, I think makes him a really good director because he's truly open to your interpretation to his idea. 

A precious writer is only precious because they're afraid that that line is the last good line they're ever going to write. If they're a really good writer, they don't care. They're literally having to flush the good ideas out. They're like, 'I don't care if you change that line because I've got a thousand other one behind it.' So be wary of precious writers. 

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Thanks to Nolan North and Troy Baker for taking the time to meet with the media and all of the fantastic content creators at MomoCon 2018 this past weekend. 

Be sure to check out Retro Replay on YouTube, where Baker and North play some of gaming's greatest hits like Spiderman for NES and Secret of Mana for the SNES. The weekly show is set to air its fourth episode May 31. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on The Last of Us: Part 2, as well as the other games both North and Baker are currently working on, including Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Hellraid, and Deathstranding

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The Thing: One of the Greatest Film-to-Game Adaptations Ever Made https://www.gameskinny.com/yagp5/the-thing-one-of-the-greatest-film-to-game-adaptations-ever-made https://www.gameskinny.com/yagp5/the-thing-one-of-the-greatest-film-to-game-adaptations-ever-made Wed, 09 May 2018 14:53:52 -0400 Edgar Wulf

Few may know that John Carpenter's horror classic The Thing, released in 1982, received a direct sequel -- in the form of a video game. Developed by the now defunct Computer Artworks and published by Konami and Vivendi Universal, The Thing was released on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation 2. Despite being well-received both critically and commercially, the game has not been made available on any other platform since.

My first introduction to the game was around early 2002, when I read about it in a magazine. Being a huge horror fan, I was immediately attracted to The Thing, even though I knew nothing about the movie at the time; I vividly remember a promotional screenshot in which the main character, Blake, is wielding two weapons and engaging a heavily disfigured monstrosity in combat. I was eager to play this game and got it shortly after release, a game I had no business playing in my early teens (the game is rated M). Luckily my mom didn't mind (thanks, mom). I loved The Thing back then, but fast-forward over 15 years -- does it do the movie justice?

Where Were You Childs?

The story picks up shortly after the events of the 1982 movie, as a small team of U.S. Special Forces arrives at the remains of Outpost 31. With Captain Blake at the forefront, whom you will control throughout the game, the team is sent to survey the camp in search of potential survivors and clues as to what might have caused the camp's downfall. The story doesn't offer much in terms of substance, but it does a good job of leading you through many desolate locations, both familiar and new, including Outpost 31 and Thule Station. Many characters, events, and objects from the movie are also referenced, forming a strong bond between both the film and the game, and masterfully creating the impression of a singular, coherent universe.

The Thing is a third-person shooter mixed with some very basic squad-command capabilities. Your squad is, aside from Blake himself, composed of morons; three kinds of moron -- the soldier, the engineer, and the medic. Soldiers will, for the most part, pretend that they are inflicting damage on enemies while you do all the hard work. Engineers can unlock door mechanisms and hack terminals. Medics can heal either Blake or another squad member, but they can't heal themselves (the irony) and will quickly go into a mental breakdown if presented with even a minor threat. All of them are susceptible to fear and have a certain sanity threshold. If you don't address their mental well-being for too long, they may pose a threat to their comrades or even commit suicide. Many of these events, however, are scripted, so don't expect to save them all. Commands can be issued based on their abilities, alongside some simple ones like stay or follow. However, they won't do anything unless they trust you. Trust can be earned by giving squad members weapons or ammo, and also ... providing proof that you're still human.

Nobody Trusts Anybody Now

Relatively early in the game, you will acquire what is known as the Blood Test Kit. With it, you can check whether or not a squad member has been taken over by an extraterrestrial entity. If the syringe explodes, prepare for battle, as it will trigger whomever was being tested to change into a Walker -- a mutilated alien form roughly resembling a human -- and attack anyone in sight. You can also use the kit on yourself to prove that you are still human and gain your squad's trust as a result.

Combat makes up a large portion of gameplay and is decent, albeit flawed. The main problem comes from the inability to aim; once an enemy is in vicinity, a target reticle will appear around them, and all you need to do is point in that direction and shoot. Some bullets will hit, some won't; shooting in short bursts seems to be more accurate. You can aim properly only when in first-person mode, to kill hard-to-reach enemies, but you can't move in this mode and thus become vulnerable. All of this, thankfully, does not impede progression as most enemies, aside from bosses, are quite easy to deal with. However, there are the already mentioned Walkers, and they are slightly more complex. They come in several differing types, each more disfigured than the last, and generally require the same strategy. The goal is to bring their health low enough with gunfire, indicated by the target reticle turning red, and then finish them off with an incendiary weapon -- a flamethrower will do nicely. All of that considered, combat isn't bad, it isn't boring, it's just very simplistic and unlikely to challenge you or bring the satisfaction of victory.

Final Thoughts

So combat is mediocre, and the story serves mostly as an opportunity to revisit some familiar locations and, to a certain degree, experience the movie's atmosphere through an interactive medium. What makes the game stand out, even today, is the trust mechanic, which is a core principle in John Carpenter's story. You can never know for sure if the guy you just gave a flamethrower to is not intent on ripping you apart once the opportunity presents itself. In addition, each ally's fluctuating sanity means that they can become a liability in a crucial moment, and you must always remain aware of that. These mechanics, along with its dedication to the source material, are what places The Thing among the best movie-based video games ever made.

Perhaps somewhat unfortunately, The Thing is only available in physical format on the same platforms for which it was originally released. The good news is that a used copy, for either platform, shouldn't set back your budget by too much. The game also provides a greater closure to the overall plot, should you wish for it, and despite some of its shortcomings, I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the movie.

Have you watched the movie or played the game? Let us know about your impressions in the comments below!

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Peridium: A Pixelated Take on The Thing https://www.gameskinny.com/rpvm5/peridium-a-pixelated-take-on-the-thing https://www.gameskinny.com/rpvm5/peridium-a-pixelated-take-on-the-thing Wed, 09 May 2018 13:49:40 -0400 Edgar Wulf

Peridium is an old-school point-and-click adventure game made by a small Australian team of developers in just over five days. It follows the story of James Turner, a mycologist who finds himself trapped in a research base deep in the Antarctic. With other researchers, seemingly infected by some unknown disease, trying to break into the station, James must find a way to call for help and evacuate from the area.

Visually, the game uses pixelated graphics which are quite pleasing to the eye. Speech and most actions are represented by animations, and there is never any trouble making out what is going on. The main protagonist, who also takes up the role of a narrator, does an excellent job of conveying his thoughts, feelings, and intentions. Other characters feel lacking in that regard even though, judging by the end-credits, they were all voiced by the same person.

Image courtesy of GO GO Free Games

In a traditional point-and-click manner, you must guide James in finding the necessary tools for solving any given puzzle. A descriptive text appears over any interactive objects, providing a welcome visual feedback and meaning you don't have to click on every square inch of the screen to progress.

The music is subtle, unsettling; similar to what John Carpenter and Ennio Morricone did in 1982's The Thing, from which, more than likely, Peridium has drawn a lot of inspiration.

The game's only shortcoming is its length; it's unlikely to take you more than 30 minutes to complete, though there are two different endings to experience. However, taking the development time and team size into consideration, it is understandable. If you're craving a short and spooky adventure game, Peridium is available on the developer's blog -- for free. If you're feeling generous, you may consider donating a chosen amount and supporting their future projects. Either way, I suggest you give this game a go whenever you have half an hour of time at your disposal.

For more cool off-the-radar games like Peridium, stay tuned to GameSkinny!

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Level Up Georgia: Wait, Hi-Rez Did What? https://www.gameskinny.com/24ief/level-up-georgia-wait-hi-rez-did-what https://www.gameskinny.com/24ief/level-up-georgia-wait-hi-rez-did-what Tue, 08 May 2018 12:00:02 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Editor's Note: A previous version of this column incorrectly included a non-Georgia game developer. The column has since been corrected. 

From unexpected convention mashups to the release of Killing Floor: Incursion and much more, there's been a ton of news brewing in the Georgia game dev community since our last Level Up column -- so let's go ahead and jump right into things. 

If you're a Georgia game dev and want us to cover your news, make sure to shoot us an email at: georgia@gameskinny.com. Please include "Level Up Georgia" in your subject line so we can easily pick it out in our inboxes. 

 

Hi-Rez Brings HRX to Dreamhack

That's right. Hi-Rez Expo won't be at the Cobb Energy Center come January 2019. Instead, Hi-Rez Studios, the Alpharetta-based development studio best known for SMITE and Paladins, has partnered with Dreamhack to bring HRX to the Georgia World Congress Center from November 16-18, 2018.  

Stew Chisam, President of Hi-Rez Studios, said the partnership was made so that the next high-octane HRX could be an even better experience for esports teams and fans alike. 

This partnership with Dreamhack Atlanta is the perfect opportunity to give our fans and pro players an even better HRX experience. After
selling out the past three Hi-Rez Expos months in advance, DreamHack Atlanta gives us the opportunity to add more attendees, a larger event space, and more fan activities at a lower ticket cost than previous Hi-Rez Expos.

The collaboration between the two parties is a perfect fit. Since 1994, Dreamhack has hosted some of the world's preeminent LAN and computer conventions. Each year, some 300,000 esports fans attend Dreamhack's events around the world to cheer on their favorite esports teams, create impeccable artwork, surf the fastest internet on the planet, and game until they pass out from exhaustion. 

Merging Dreamhack Atlanta with Hi-Rez Expo will undoubtedly bring SMITE and Paladins to a larger audience, while all at once giving HRX attendees access to the smorgasbord of activities and competitions Dreamhack is known for. 

Esports currently announced for appearance are: 

  • SMITE
  • Paladins
  • Counter-Strike
  • Brawlhalla

More games, tournaments, and convention specifics will be announced in the coming weeks and months. You can purchase tickets to Dreamhack Atlanta here starting May 9 at 9:00 a.m. EST

Hi-Rez Launches Esports Production Company

With well over 1 billion views across all of their streaming and video channels, SMITE and Paladins are some of the most watched games in the competitive gaming space. As demand for content centered around the games has increased, it's only natural that Hi-Rez Studios would meet it with a steady supply of engaging content. 

To better help them accomplish that goal and satisfy the rabid masses, the Alpharetta-based studio announced on May 7 the opening of Skillshot Media, a production studio focused on operating "esports leagues and production for SMITE and Paladins, as well as games from other publishers."

Set to open May 9, the studio is set to produce some 75 hours of esports-centric content each and every week with a staff of 35. Coming in at 16,000 square feet, Skillshot's studio will be 6,000 feet larger than ELEAGUE's esports arena.  

Although it is currently not known what content the wholly-owned Hi-Rez subsidiary will produce for "other publishers," there's plenty to be produced for SMITE and Paladins' 45 million players. Moving into a new (and bigger) space is going to help production focus on the esports aspects of both IPs. 

However, Todd Harris, President of Skillshot Media and COO of Hi-Rez Studios, said that Skillshot Media isn't just about producing content, but also about building community around that content. 

We started live-streaming games from a bedroom, then a tiny office, and now a dedicated production studio. But our goal has always been to foster community through esports and video content. By organizing ourselves as a separate entity focused only on esports and content product, we’re excited to bring even more dedicated esports attention to Smite and Paladins and also explore partnerships with new games and additional game publishers and developers.

Skillshot isn't taking things slow, either. The studio is set to have weekly LAN competitions through the month of May, all while hosting some 200 esports professionals from around the world. 

There is currently no word on what channels viewers will be able to see all of this awesome content, but it's safe to start in the following areas: 

Bot Smashers Alpha Signups Live

If you didn't catch our Bot Smashers coverage from HRX 2018, here's the TL;DR on the new Hi-Rez IP: it's a smashingly fun mobile game that fuses strategy with fast-paced base building. In our time with the game, we had a pretty good time and can't wait to see what Hi-Rez does with it.  

As the name implies, Bot Smashers will see players wreaking havoc on opposing players in a colorful world of robots on a 1v1 battlefield where matches are timed and the highest score wins.

Currently in Alpha signups, interested players can sign up here to see what it's all about. If you were a fan of Advance Wars, Bot Smashers is a game you just might want to check out. 

MomoCon to Host Unity Game Showcase

We all already know how important Unity is to not only large developers but especially smaller studios and indie developers. To further highlight the success these users are having with the tool, Unity 3D Atlanta Group is working with MomoCon 2018 to host its third Game Showcase May 24-27 at booths 1052 and 1053.  

This year, nine games will be featured from nine Atlanta-based game developers. The full list of games can be seen below: 

  • Arbiter
  • AmaranTime
  • Depth of Extinction
  • Entangled
  • Everdepths
  • Light the Beacons
  • Neon the Ninja
  • Project Ghost
  • Twin Cop

To learn more about the Unity 3D Atlanta Group, visit its Meetup page.   

Tripwire Interactive Releases Killing Floor: Incursion on PSVR

Honestly, Killing Floor 2 might just be one of my favorite zombie horde games of all time. Really. It's got character. It's balanced. And most of all, it's fun. 

Sure, this isn't KF2, but it's KF in VR, which sounds hella' rad to me. And although we've not personally gotten our hands on a copy yet, the PSVR version of the game appears to be performing very well. Considering how it did on the Oculus, that's really no surprise. 

If you have a PSVR and you're itching to frag some Zeds, you can pick up Killing Floor: Incursion now from the PlayStation Store for $29.99. 

 

 

Adult Swim Releases Pool Panic Gameplay Trailer

Are you ready to venture into the kooky world of Pool Panic, an adventure game that bakes ridiculous non sequiturs and totally weird randomness into its very design? A game that looks to embody the amazing quirkiness that is Adult Swim Games into a single, epic tale of cue ball chicanery? 

After watching the trailer above, you can't help but at least be interested in what Pool Panic has on offer. With more than 100 zany levels that span deserts, jungles, pirate-themed carnivals, tundras, dance clubs, and much more, Pool Panic sees players battle ghosts, zombies, spiders, and diabolical bosses using strategy and cunning. 

From the looks of it, the game's puzzles can be absolute mind-benders, and the gameplay will not only test your powers of deduction -- but your powers as a master of pool! 

Pool Panic is set to release "soon" for the Nintendo Switch and PC. 

GGDA News Network Goes Live

In our last column, we talked to GGDA President Andrew Greenberg about the launch of the association's "Game Dev News Network." There he stressed the importance of providing game developers a resource to learn more about not only the industry at large but also about the tools and techniques used by their peers to make great games. 

Looking at everything from game development tools to Georgia game news and more, the Game Dev News Network launched its first broadcast (seen above) on April 24.  

The next broadcast is set to air May 22 at 7:30 p.m. EDT on YouTube, Twitch, and Mixer. If you're a GGDA member who would like to help with the production of future GDNN streams, moderating any of the association's channels, creating any of the GGDA's expanding game-centric content, or having the GGDA work with you to promote your content, email the GGDA at info@ggda.org

If you are not currently a member of the GGDA but would like to join, you can find more information on the association's membership page

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Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news about Georgia's burgeoning gaming scene. And if you've got a piece of Georgia game dev news you'd like to share with us, send it over at: georgia@gameskinny.com. We'll make sure to include it in our next column!

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Hands-on Impressions of Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart https://www.gameskinny.com/gx51n/hands-on-impressions-of-monopoly-gamer-mario-kart https://www.gameskinny.com/gx51n/hands-on-impressions-of-monopoly-gamer-mario-kart Thu, 03 May 2018 09:52:24 -0400 Zach Hunt

When Monopoly Gamer was released last summer, it at first appeared to be just another rebranding of the classic "fast-paced property trading" game, only this time aimed at appealing to fans of classic Super Mario Bros. As it turned out, however, Monopoly Gamer offered a novel spin on the tried-and-true formula, and even if it didn't manage to forever dethrone vanilla Monopoly, it provided an interesting and somewhat faster-paced take on the classic formula.

This spring, Hasbro has again teamed up with Nintendo for the second entry in the Monopoly Gamer series. However, this incarnation's theme revolves around everybody's favorite kart racer. In Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart, two to four players start off by choosing their kart racer (current options include Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad, with additional racers to become available -- for an additional price -- at a later date).

Your choice of kart racer is actually a more strategic decision than picking between tokens in traditional Monopoly since each racer has its own unique Power-up Ability that is activated by landing on one of the board's Super Star spaces. Mario, for example, gets to collect three coins each time, whereas Toad can choose to drop up to five coins and move forward the same amount of spaces.

Rather than starting off with boatloads of pastel-colored paper bills, you begin with 10 coins, and you'll spend most of the game slowly moving around the circuit, purchasing or paying rent for landing on Mario Kart-themed properties, such as Rainbow Road and Moo Moo Meadows. You roll two dice, but one of them is a Power-Up die. What this means is that you'll move anywhere from one to six spaces a turn but also activate one of six Mario Kart-themed abilities every time.

Maybe you'll roll a Green Shell and force an opponent to drop coins on whatever property they happen to be sitting on, or perhaps you'll roll Coins and simply collect three coins from the bank. Whatever the case may be, you'll be dropping and picking up coins on just about every turn.

Once you've finally made it all the way around the board (which, despite having fewer spaces to cover, still takes a while since you only use one die to move), you pass GO and flip over a Grand Prix card. This starts a race that each player can voluntarily enter by paying a few coins as an entry fee. Far removed from the high-octane action of the video game series, these races require you to simply outroll your opponents. There are prizes for first, second, and third places, and the winner also holds on to the Grand Prix card, which is also worth points.

Unlike old-school Monopoly, this game doesn't end once a single player has managed to bankrupt his or her (possibly former) friends and family members. After the final Grand Prix race has run, players tally up the points they've accumulated from properties owned, Grand Prix race cards collected, and coins amassed. Then, just like always with Monopoly, one person walks away bragging while the others vow to never again play a board game with the winner.A player's hand moving the Luigi token around the Monopoly board
Image courtesy of GameStop

For the most part, I enjoyed my time with Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart, but I nevertheless have a few gripes with the game.

To start, there's no Yoshi available upon launch, and asking me to pay $2.99 down the line for a "Power Pack" so that I'm not stuck with Luigi again strikes me as a little too similar to what we're seeing in the video gaming world right now. 

Secondly -- and perhaps due to some anomaly in my own playthrough -- it seems like there should be far more single coins available. By game's end, my group and I still had a sizable stack of the five-cent cardboard punch-outs but had resorted to using actual pennies in lieu of the one-cent pieces. I haven't seen this complaint elsewhere, though, so maybe this isn't happening to others.

Finally, with all the focus on power-ups, dropping banana peels, and coin exchanging, my favorite part of Monopoly seemed lost in the shuffle: Only two or three times did I get to giddily demand that my loved ones "PAY UP!" when landing on my property. There aren't any houses or hotels, and every time I managed to land on a property I wanted to purchase, I was too broke to purchase it (largely because I was getting Thwomped and barraged by Spiny Shells on nearly every turn).

Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart is a unique take on a formula that somehow hasn't really grown tired even after all these years. It deserves its place in the gigantic pantheon of Monopoly games, and I have to give it credit for not just being yet another rebranded version. But at the end of the day, I'd probably rather just horde railroads, open Community Chests, and stick with the classic.

Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart is available now at GameStop, with plans to extend to other retailers this summer.

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Shenmue: What's the Big Deal About This Game? https://www.gameskinny.com/a8i5z/shenmue-whats-the-big-deal-about-this-game https://www.gameskinny.com/a8i5z/shenmue-whats-the-big-deal-about-this-game Fri, 27 Apr 2018 11:11:47 -0400 Edgar Wulf

You may have heard of Shenmue, or seen Michael Huber drop to his knees at the reveal of the upcoming Shenmue 3; heck, if you owned the now legendary Dreamcast, you may have even played it. But what is it that is so special about a game that is almost 20 years old? At the time of its release, there was nothing like itnot at that scale. The estimated production costs also reflect that; Shenmue cost up to $70 million to develop, allegedly shared among both entries which, in 1999, was still a record-breaking budget for a video game.

Finding the Men in Black Suits

As the story begins, you assume the role of Ryo Hazuki, a young, initially brash martial artist who witnesses the death of his father but fails to stand in the way of the killer. After recovering from this event, Ryo sets out into a faithfully recreated Japanese city of Yokosuka to gather clues on the whereabouts of his father's murderer, Lan Di, who commands a mysterious and intimidating presence during his few appearances. While the plot itself is hardly revolutionary, it is the setting, the pacing of the story, and the characters you meet and interact with which provide a memorable, one-of-a-kind experience.

If you are familiar with the Yakuza series, a game franchise which has been heavily inspired by Shenmue, then you already know what you're potentially getting yourself into. Similarly, at its core, Shenmue is a 3D beat-em-up with an emphasis on exploration and dialogue. You spend most of your time talking to other people, gathering information, and progressing the story. There's more than enough fighting to be done, however, and each battle encounter provides an excellent opportunity to put recently learned moves to the test.

New moves can be acquired by purchasing (or finding) scrolls, or by interacting with other martial arts experts around the city. Much like in fighting games, each move consists of a particular button combination, and it is recommended to practice them, either in the dojo at home or at a small parking lot in the city. These practice sessions offer an unusually serene gameplay experience and demonstrate how, gradually, Ryo becomes a more skilled fighter based on hard work, not mere accumulation of stats. Shenmue is also known for popularizing quick time events and, unlike in so many other games, they were integrated into gameplay quite well. Failing at them during battle would sometimes lead to a "Game Over" screen, but often the story would continue, forcing Ryo to carry the shame of defeat along with him.

I Will Avenge My Father's Death ... But First I'll Play!

It is in-between these moments of fighting and plot progression where the game offers various entertaining distractions. Simply walking around Yokosuka is already fulfilling, but how about visiting the local convenience store to purchase some batteries for your cassette player (the game takes place in 1986) or other necessities? Or maybe grab a refreshing drink from the nearby vending machine after an arduous battle? If you need some time off, you can go to the arcade and play some of the older games made by SEGA. There is a lot to do, and it is this variety which makes the game stand out.

All of this may not seem like much today; every open-world game has a wide range of activities and pastimes. But in 1999, a game that combined such freedom of action and a coherent, well-written story, was a rarity. Sure you can guide Ryo to track down Lan Di and get revenge, but you can also postpone it, stay at home, and just play video games; at a certain point you can even get a job. This mostly refers to the original Shenmue, but Shenmue II does exactly what you might expect -- it serves as a worthy continuation of the storyline, expands it in terms of size and scope by introducing new characters and activities, and successfully builds upon everything the first game sets up. Think of it as an extension rather than a sequel.

Visually, the games have aged surprisingly well and would look great on modern systems with even minor updates. One very important component, which can easily be overlooked, is the musical score. While it may not be to everybody's tastes, it does create the necessary tone and depth for any event -- it's saddening whenever there is loss, full of determination and hope once you embark on a new adventure, creates a sense of urgency and hazard while in battle, and even manages to become heartwarming and cute during the romantic scenes.

A New Journey

Following its release, this franchise has likely influenced the gaming industry in more ways than it gets credit for, and since a compilation of both games is being released later this year, I strongly urge you to give it a try. I hope I have managed to pique your interest enough to do so. If you have already played the game, why not share some pivotal memories in the comments below?

Thanks for reading, and for anything else Shenmue, stay tuned right here to GameSkinny.

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Level Up Georgia: Ubisoft Acquires Blue Mammoth, a Closer Look at the IPC, and More https://www.gameskinny.com/24snj/level-up-georgia-ubisoft-acquires-blue-mammoth-a-closer-look-at-the-ipc-and-more https://www.gameskinny.com/24snj/level-up-georgia-ubisoft-acquires-blue-mammoth-a-closer-look-at-the-ipc-and-more Mon, 23 Apr 2018 15:19:18 -0400 Jonathan Moore

With the likes of Hi-Rez, Tripwire Interactive, Xavient, and literally hundreds of other highly talented video game developers calling the state home, Georgia is quickly becoming one of the premier video game development locations in the United States. Because so many developers call the Peach State home, and more are flocking here each and every year, we decided it was high time to start talking about them -- and the community that keeps them forging ahead. 

Thus, Level Up Georgia, GameSkinny's bimonthly column covering all things Georgia game dev, was born. We'll cover mergers, economics, new game releases, and much, much more. Basically, if it's game related and it's happening in Georgia, we're going to cover it.

If you're a game dev and have news to share with us (whatever that news may be -- even if you just added a new sprite to an ongoing project or updated your Steam page), please shoot us an email at: georgia@gameskinny.com, and we'll include your news here every other Monday. 

This week, we're going to take a look at Ubisoft's acquisition of Atlanta-based indie studio Blue Mammoth, new additions to Georgia's game dev tax incentive program, and the GGDA's recently unveiled Game Dev News Network. 

Let's jump in and get started.  

Ubisoft/Blue Mammoth Merger

With the full release of Brawlhalla in fall 2017, Blue Mammoth further cemented itself as one of the premier game developers in Georgia. And as the fighter continued to climb the Steam charts and become one of the most-played F2P titles on the PlayStation 4, Ubisoft took notice. 

On March 1, the Rennes, France-based company acquired Blue Mammoth for an undisclosed amount. The merger included both of Blue Mammoth's offices, Atlanta and Amsterdam, as well as all 21 Blue Mammoth employees. According to a press release, Ubisoft expects to add four more employees to the studio in the coming months.  

As for Blue Mammoth, the team is excited to not only have a hit in Brawlhalla but also to have partnered with a like-minded developer and publisher. Both Ubisoft and Blue Mammoth share a player-centric development ethos -- and both know how to make successfully engrossing games.  

We're very excited to join up with Ubisoft. They are everything we were looking for in a partner: a top game developer, liked and respected by players, and with a history of innovation in their games.

And Ubisoft was excited about our plan for [Brawlhalla] and the studio. Plus Ubisoft shares our philosophy that free-to-play games should have a healthy, player-focused approach. So it's a great fit. 

--- Matt Woomer, Managing Director, Blue Mammoth Games

As of this writing, it is unknown if Blue Mammoth will keep its name or be renamed as some other Ubisoft-acquired studios have been in the past. But with the success of Brawlhalla and the brand Blue Mammoth has created, we'll have to wait and see. 

Georgia Game Dev Tax Incentive Program

At the end of 2016, more than 120 game developers operated in the Peach State and employed about 3,800 Georgians. Revenue from those developers surpassed $380 million that year, leading to increased focus on the community at large. 

Supported by a $12.5 million incentive program, that growth led the Georgia legislature to renew its commitment to the state's gaming community with the Interactive Production Credit on January 1, 2018.  

Similar to the Georgia Film Tax Credit, the IPC incentivizes game developers to make their games in Georgia by removing some of the tax burden of doing so. And although major, worldwide studios and publishers are beginning to take notice of Georgia game devs and the boon the state provides, the Production Credit focuses on nurturing home-grown studios and video games made by native publishers.  

In the film industry, Georgia tax credits are predicated on the entire spend of the production. This includes sets, chauffeuring services, set design, catering, plane tickets, and much more. Essentially, anything spent on the making of the film goes toward the tax credit.

However, the Interactive Production Credit works differently. It is predicated on promoting Georgia and in-state payroll -- companies must spend $250,000 on Georgia employees to apply. 

There are limitations on the $250,000 qualifying limit for Georgia game developers as well. The three important caps are: 

  1. No one company can qualify for more than $1.5 million in production credit
  2. The total amount of credits cannot exceed $12.5 million
  3. No company that generates more than $100 million in revenue can qualify 

The caveats in the IPC are in place to aid smaller developers in particular. 

[The Interactive Production Credit] is certainly not there to help the solo, entrepreneur who's doing it all by themselves. It is meant for companies that are looking to hire. Obviously, governments are very interested in good jobs. Our jobs are very good jobs. They don't want [the credit] just going to one person. Thus the payroll requirement. 

--- Andrew Greenberg, President of the GGDA

To further make things clear, entrepreneurs or single employee developers cannot pay themselves $250,000 to qualify. Developers must be actively hiring and paying $250,000 in payroll to qualify. Greenberg also said that the credit isn't meant to keep a company going. Instead, the credit is meant to help companies build strong economic foundations and stimulate investment in the industry.

To make sure that measure is followed, there are time limits for how long productions can qualify for the tax credit. In essence, developers cannot indefinitely receive the credit for a single game or production. It is currently not clear how long specific games and projects will qualify before developers must move on. We will update this story with that information when we have it. 

However, Greenberg wanted to stress that all of the tax credit was used in 2017. He said he, as well as the GGDA, expects the entire credit to be used again in 2018.

For those interested in receiving benefits from the tax credit, he suggested applying early to take full advantage of the assistance it offers. 

Programs Specifically for Small(er) Georgia Game Developers

So what about even smaller developers or entrepreneurs? Well, Greenberg said there are other great programs those game makers can take advantage of as well. 

It's interesting how difficult it can be to get investors. And that's why we started the SIEGE Investment Conference, which will be on October 5 this year [at SIEGE Con]. It's not just to make sure some developers can secure investment money, but it's also to educate both the investors and game developers on what's required to work together. 

--- Andrew Greenberg

Additionally, Georgia game developers can qualify for workforce monies to stimulate growth on a smaller scale, helping with hiring and on-the-job training. To receive these grants, developers must qualify with the WorkSource Board in their county or city. These funds work to offset the costs of hiring and training staff. 

On top of that, there are also R&D tax credits available for those interested in taking advantage of those.  

GGDA "Game Dev News Network"

Over the last year, the Georgia Game Developer's Association has provided members and viewers with a new way to learn about events, meetings, workshops, and educational activities: streaming. With channels on YouTube, Mixer, and Twitch, the GGDA has made it so that anyone can watch from anywhere.

However, as the GGDA has grown and increased the bandwidth by which they reach viewers, there has been increased demand for news centered on game developers and game development tools -- specifically in Georgia. Thus, the GGDA "Game Dev News Network" was born. 

Covering in-depth game dev topics, content will range from which companies are hiring and what educational programs might be available to developers, to what indies have opportunities and even what new Unity plugins devs should be using. Greenberg said:  

We've decided to set up a half hour period where we're going in depth on various [GGDA and game developer-related] topics, and we're providing the information that people want.  We certainly expect this to be interesting to gamers that don't do game dev, but it's certainly geared toward game devs. 

The show won't only discuss the news, however, but also look at it from an angle that's actionable to game developers. Instead of simply talking about new tool releases, for example, the show will also cover interviews looking at the tools and plugins used by other developers -- and why those developers are using those tools. Greenberg continues: 

... More than just what Unity's released, but also why that matters to game developers. We're hoping to be the ones to provide that [insight] ... That kind of look under the hood is really valuable for devs and of interest to gamers as well. 

What's on the Horizon? 

The GGDA also hosts many gamejams around the state, and the Game Dev News Network looks to pull back the curtain on those events, giving listeners and watchers a new look at how games are made. Content will revolve around the announcement of special events, as well as an inside look at the tools, mods, and motivations of the developers involved. 

The first GGDA Game Dev News Network simulcast will be held April 24 at 7:30 p.m. EST on Youtube, Twitch, and Mixer.

On top of that, the GGDA also has a few other events already planned for the summer. The first is the Georgia Esports League Spring Championship held in the Georgia World Congress Center at MomoCon on May 24. As of this writing, signups for the Spring Championship are still open to college teams from the state of Georgia. The winner of the Esports League Spring Championship will receive "thousands of dollars in scholarships," according to the GGDA website.

The other planned event is the MomoCon career fair, which will also see representatives from Blue Mammoth, Hi-Rez Studios, Tripwire Interactive, and Turner Broadcasting. The free event will be held at the Omni Hotel, International Ballroom D, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 24 before the Spring Championship. 

---

Have you got a piece of Georgia game dev news you'd like to share with us? Send it over at: georgia@gameskinny.com, and we'll make sure to include it in the next column.

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Fortnite Season 4 -- Everything We Know and Everything We Want https://www.gameskinny.com/j6m65/fortnite-season-4-everything-we-know-and-everything-we-want https://www.gameskinny.com/j6m65/fortnite-season-4-everything-we-know-and-everything-we-want Tue, 17 Apr 2018 11:11:44 -0400 Ty Arthur

The snow's finally melting, and spring is coming just as the Battle Pass for Fortnite Battle Royale's Season 3 is due to end on April 30. Clearly, Season 4 isn't far off down the road, which means it's time to get ready for all-new outfits and challenges!

Before we officially hit Season 4, there have already been some major shakeups to the game, like the soft launch of the custom matchmaking key feature and the incredible Port-a-Fort grenade.

Fortnite players have been through a wild ride in Season 3, from the Solid Gold event to Blitz Mode to the addition of the guided missile launcher. While Season 2 was heavily medieval-focused, there really wasn't a super unified theme in Season 3, sticking slightly to a space motif while veering away from that base idea several times.

In the last few months, we've had all sorts of craziness, including Lunar New Year buildings, creepy bunny costumes, astronauts, afros and disco balls, plungers with samurai swords stuck in them, and winged cupids. Now that Season 4 is almost here, it's time to start speculating on the new themes and outfits.

six different Fortnite skins posing 
It's been fun, but all good things must come to an end!

When Will Fortnite Season 4 Arrive?

Expect the upcoming Season 4 and its new Battle Pass to arrive either on Tuesday, May 1 or a couple of days later, with the normal weekly update around Thursday, May 3.

It remains unclear at this point if the Season 4 Battle Pass can be purchased with existing V-bucks or if you will only be able to pay money to grab the new Pass. If you've got extra to spare, you may want to hold onto somewhere in the 950-1,500 V-bucks range just in case.

Fortnite Season 4 Theme

A ton of fan theories have been put forward for the Season 4 theme, including super heroes, a pirate/aquatic theme, ninja clan battles, fantasy heroes and villains, a progressive history that goes from caveman to futuristic cyborg, Greek mythology, cyberpunk, ancient Egypt, and even dinosaurs!

One consistent and popular fan theory is that Tilted Towers or another location will be devastated by a meteor and look completely different in Season 4. This may tie into the Rex dinosaur costume that came out earlier this month and may indicate we are going prehistoric soon. Personally, I'm leaning towards this view point, especially when the Tricera Ops skin leaked ahead of release.

New weekly challenges based around dinosaur eggs, meteors, and cavemen could be a rousing good time, and it would be awesome to see the same theme invade the Save the World missions for those of us who still prefer that mode over Battle Royale.

On the other hand, the latest Fortnite skin addition was the bizarre Leviathan, which looks like a cross between a Mars Attacks alien and Klaus from American Dad. That still sticks to the quasi-space theme of Season 3 while lending credence to the notion we may be heading full throttle into an aquatic theme. Meanwhile, the 800 v-buck Reanimated emote that just arrived wouldn't at all be out of place in the goofy Saints Row series, mixing jerky zombie movies with a dance rave theme!

While previous seasons had Halloween and Christmas offerings, Season 4 will primarily take place in the spring and summer, so it's a good bet there will be some sort of picnic, fireworks, or patriotic theme near the end.

In short, we simply have no definitive answer at the moment for what exactly is going to happen with Season 4, as the developers like to ping-pong between ideas frequently as new Fortnite patches arrive each week.

a Fortnite leviathan skin that looks like a scuba diver or astronaut with a fish for a head raching out to a mounted fish on a wall Aquatic, dinosaurs, cowboys? What's your guess?

What theme do you want to see from the fourth Season of Fortnite next month? Let us know your favorite picks in the comments below, and check back soon as we update with the latest Season 4 info.

For those still looking to complete the Season 3 challenges, check out our other Fortnite guides here:

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The Fortnite Shutdown Rumor Is Baseless, Stop Worrying About It https://www.gameskinny.com/nas8d/the-fortnite-shutdown-rumor-is-baseless-stop-worrying-about-it https://www.gameskinny.com/nas8d/the-fortnite-shutdown-rumor-is-baseless-stop-worrying-about-it Mon, 16 Apr 2018 14:58:49 -0400 Ashley Gill

Let's get this out of the way at the start: There was no tweet on the official Epic Twitter that Fortnite Battle Royale was going to be closed down.

A rumor started circulating last week that Fornite Battle Royale would be seeing closure in May due to a lawsuit from PUBG Corporation, but it is simply baseless.

Gaming site Twinfinite published an article on April 12 covering the alleged tweet, stating that the rumor was started by an image of a tweet from the official Epic Twitter account. The tweet the writer claimed to have seen read as follows:

“Due to the law suit against PubG on copyright infringement. We are sorry to inform you that Fortnite Battle Royale Will be coming to an end May 24, 2018. Save the world will still be in development and we will roll out ASAP. Thank you all for the support.”

Have you seen the supposed image of the tweet? Because I have not.

I've done some scouring at this point -- not because I believed the rumor, but to discern whether Twinfinite was kicking up crap just to get traffic -- and I have not seen it anywhere, even in the corners of the internet where they'd dance around the virtual bonfire at such a rumor. There is zero. Zilch. Nothing.

Did someone email them this image? Or did they make it up? I don't know, and frankly, I don't care. The end result is the same: a panic over a rumor so small it shouldn't have been given the time of day.

The alleged tweet itself is as poorly written and unofficial-looking as it can be. The capitalization is all over the place ("PubG", "Save the world") and clarifies absolutely nothing while simply aiming to stoke the flames of panic.

The public hasn't heard much about litigation against Epic Games due to the release of Fortnite Battle Royale, but at this point, it's safe to assume the mode is not going anywhere. In fact, it appears to be devouring the playerbases of a number of other large multiplayer titles. No other game is as popular as Fortnite is right now. Absolutely none.

Baseless rumors don't help anyone, and a rumor so devoid of base that it's sunk into the ground shouldn't have shot its way across the internet in the first place. Have you seen any signs of Epic slowing down content releases or events? No. So stop worrying about it.

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An Interview with Derek Neal, Executive Producer of Extinction https://www.gameskinny.com/rnoew/an-interview-with-derek-neal-executive-producer-of-extinction https://www.gameskinny.com/rnoew/an-interview-with-derek-neal-executive-producer-of-extinction Tue, 03 Apr 2018 15:11:46 -0400 Erroll Maas

Derek Neal is an executive producer at Modus Games and on the upcoming ogre-slaying action game Extinction. He took some time out of his busy pre-launch schedule to sit down and chat about the different types of enemies and gameplay elements featured in Extinction.

a sword-wielding warrior descends upon a gigantic ogre in an image from Extinction

GameSkinny: Most of Extinction revolves around fighting giant ogres known as Ravenii. Why were ogres chosen specifically as the main enemy of the game?

Derek Neal: In order to provide gameplay variety, we wanted different armor sets to behave really differently; so for example, the spiked armor can hurt you, the iron armor has dangling locks on it, and the bone armor has flaming skulls you have to put out. The Ogres can wear various combinations of different types of armor, as well as potentially weapons, which makes their loadouts seem very patchwork. At the same time, they aren’t just pure brutes -- they do have some culture, as well as some level of technology, and their own language, all of which are facts that feature prominently in the story. We needed a villain class that was brutish, but not completely stupid ... cultured, but likely to show up in patchwork armor. Ogres were a natural fit.

a top-down view of a warrior about to take on a group of enemies in Extinction

GS: What were the inspirations for the vulture and jackal minions that follow the Ravenii, and why do they do so?

DN: They are some of the lesser races that have been enslaved by the Ravenii. As far as what gameplay purpose they serve, even though all the terrain is destructible, there are still places the Ravenii (being 150ft tall) can’t really go ... for example, inside of caves. The Jackals and other enemies provide a constant and immediate threat that Avil has to deal with, while the Ravenii are slower, implacable, and much harder to handle.

Avil, the main character of Extinction, holding a sword, with beaming light behind him

GS: The main character Avil is said to be the last of the Sentinels, due to the order degrading over time. What can you tell us about how or why this happened?

DN: The main factor in the decline of the Sentinels is that the Ravenii have been absent for many generations. As the threat grew more distant, people began to forget, and the need for the order seemed less pressing.

a more comic book-y style image of the ogres in Extinction

GS: It has been said that prior to the arrival of the Ravenii, humanity was constantly at war with itself. We haven't seen any footage of the Ravenii fighting each other -- is there a possibility of seeing this in the game?

DN: The Ravenii will beat their chests and roar at each other sometimes, or make other threatening gestures, but it never gets to the level of an all-out brawl. They are part of the same army, they are intelligent, and they are generally cooperating with each other.

a huge ogre about to stomp Avil in Extinction

GS: What is the difficulty curve for this game like? Would it be best for fans of the stylish action genre, or will it be more welcoming to all types of players?

DN: The game is actually fairly difficult, but it’s not because it’s hard to play. The controls are very straightforward, and most of the individual systems (like climbing, wall running, saving people, combat, etc.) are easy to get into and manipulate. The difficulty comes when trying to combine everything together seamlessly. Ogres are assaulting the city from all sides, a group of people close to you are being eaten by Jackals, your health is running out, and you’re failing the mission objective. What do you prioritize? Can you do it fast enough to save them all? If not, what do you sacrifice? And can you make those decisions on the fly, while trying to avoid imminent death from a huge monster trying to stomp you?

Avil standing on a rock and looking at an ogre in Extinction

GS: We know there are various techniques Avil can use in combat. Are there extra benefits and rewards to gain from using a variety of techniques?

DN: Doing well in combat earns you SP, which you can use to upgrade Avil. But the main reward for mastering the combat system is doing better at the missions, having more time to save more people (which also earns you more SP), and making you look like a total badass.

basic white text on a black background assuring the reader that Extinction doesn't include microtransactions

EM: In the beginning of the features trailer, it is explicitly said that Extinction has no microtransactions; however, the game does have exclusive pre-order content depending on where it's purchased from. What influenced these decisions?​

DN: Obviously, we want to encourage people to pre-order the game, so we provide some incentives for doing that. Honestly, adding microtransactions never really entered our thought process while we were initially building the game ... it was always going to be a story-based, single-player experience. But now, with all the recent controversies over microtransaction implementations in games, we’re definitely pleased not to have gone that way.

I thanked Derek for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions. Extinction will launch on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on April 10, 2018, and both physical and digital copies of the game are available to purchase. Players who pre-order Extinction will gain access to exclusive DLC depending on where they pre-order it from.

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An Interview with the Producer of Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption https://www.gameskinny.com/5r4lt/an-interview-with-the-producer-of-sinner-sacrifice-for-redemption https://www.gameskinny.com/5r4lt/an-interview-with-the-producer-of-sinner-sacrifice-for-redemption Wed, 28 Mar 2018 16:00:49 -0400 Spongehoe

Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption is a challenging boss battler action-RPG deeply rooted in the struggles of human nature and strength in the essence of Dark Souls.

Featuring a small but feisty knight named Adam, you embark on a series of battles against the seven deadly sins as you attempt to atone for them, each as equally unique and as grotesque as the other. With each Sin you battle, your protagonist must sacrifice his stats, amping up the difficulty of the game.

The gameplay is as hardcore as it gets, but the game itself is a sight for sore eyes, with beautiful graphics, a brooding theme, and an original, distinctive undertone. While I haven't gotten quite to the end of the challenge, we interviewed Wang Chen, the producer from Dark Star Studios, on their impressive debut with Sinner

GameSkinny: Apart from other games like Dark Souls, what other media inspired the theme for Sinner?

Wang Chen, Producer at Dark Star Studios: Along with Dark Souls, we were inspired by Japanese anime, in particular, Studio Ghibli. We wanted Sinner to be a fusion of East and West. This is why Adam has a distinct chibi style!

GS: Was it meant to be a particularly challenging game? 

WC: Sinner is a hard game. We made it difficult because we wanted the gameplay to reflect Adam’s personal struggle to atone for his sins. While the game is hard we wanted to make sure it wasn’t gatekept and have made it so that anyone can access the vast majority of the game’s content even if they struggle with the game’s difficulty.

GS: What were some creative obstacles faced during development?

WC: Boss design was tricky. We wanted to make sure that bosses represented their sins correctly. For some bosses this was easy but for some, like Sloth, for example, this was more difficult. Making a lazy boss is tricky in a serious game. It was also tricky to put together a cohesive story that pulled together all the characters, all the sins, and Adam in a cohesive way when the game’s story can be experienced in any order. 

GS: What kind of audience would this game appeal to?

WC: Sinner is a “hardcore” game but I hope it appeals to more than just the most hardcore of gamers. The fact that the majority of the game’s content is open should make it less of a frustrating experience for many gamers who might have gotten stuck in other, similarly difficult games.

GS: What is your favorite aspect of the game? 

WC: Probably the art style. Both the 2D and the 3D art is really meticulously designed and we spent a long time making the game look as beautiful as possible. We hope gamers will appreciate it as much as we do.

GS: What could use some improvement?

WC: At this point, the game is pretty much finished. We’re currently focusing on making it as polished an experience as possible, but as it stands, Sinner is right about where we wanted it to be.

GS: Are there any more projects to be expected from here?

WC: Oh yes! Dark Star has big plans for the future but we aren’t finished with Sinner just yet.

GS: Which Sin was a team favorite to create? Which was the least favorite?

WC: Everyone on the team has a different favorite! It’s really difficult to answer this question. I really, really love Envy and the way she swaps between two styles of combat. But I also love Lust and the way she surprises the player throughout the battle.I don’t think we have a least favorite. We’ve worked so hard on each of them it would feel like a betrayal to name  our least favorite!

If you're ready for more mind-reeling action and incredibly difficult bosses, Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption will be coming to Xbox One, PC, Mac, and PlayStation 4 on the 25th of April this year. 

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Gaming Lingo Every Beginner Should Know https://www.gameskinny.com/ab7b8/gaming-lingo-every-beginner-should-know https://www.gameskinny.com/ab7b8/gaming-lingo-every-beginner-should-know Mon, 26 Mar 2018 11:04:47 -0400 Spongehoe

Playing video games is not as simple as it used to be back in the day. There were party or solo games, a controller (often with a chewed up wire) and at the end of the day, just you and the console. There were no die-hard passionate fandoms, or mental health conditions, or mass cheating bans to worry about. Yet change isn't always bad.

As we all know, in this world of rapidly accelerating telecommunications technology, we have managed to reach out to others who enjoy our passions across oceans and continents. We've made every day a party on the internet and turned every opinionated rant into a full-blown civil war. We have created communities and fanbases and many, many pretentious fanboys (and girls). No regrets, since things are better this way. Gaming has become a recognized hobby and an enjoyable pastime with the quick development of consoles, social media, and internet connection.

With a fascinating age of gaming culture upon us, there will inevitably be newbies (or people new to the industry) entering at almost any age and from almost any background. This concise guide was put together to teach and revise some of the most common, basic, and important gaming key terms to latch onto out there.These are handy when it comes to reading up on gaming news and guides, surfing through forums and chat rooms, and trying to make do with fitting into the culture a bit later in the day. No shame, my friends. We were all you once.

AAA:

To be brief, a triple-A game is usually a wonderfully crafted, critically acclaimed release with a big fanbase and an even bigger budget. A favorite example of mine would be BioShock Infinite.

Bots:
Instead of playing versus other live human players such as yourself, artificially intelligent bots are programmed to play against you. This is often offered as an alternative option to live multiplayer, is common in single-player games, and can also be great practice in tutorials for when you want to face off against the real players.


Build:
This term describes a specific character's collection of items/skills etc. for a particular purpose.


Camper:
A nuisance in online shooting games, a camper is one who (often from inexperience) remains stationery in one point of the map and often shoots passing players while idling around. Don't be that person. It's bad and makes people hate you.


DLC:
This stands for downloadable content, which can include additional features, levels, stories, characters or costumes to a game. 

For instance, Dawnguard is a DLC for the open-world RPG Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, where you get to indulge in some good old-fashioned vampirism. This option is not offered in the original game and is purchased separately. 


Easter Egg:
A usually irrelevant but interesting hidden feature of a game. They're a good foundation for memes and are often subtle references to politics or pop culture. You can often find them on social media or YouTubers mocking them for the sake of it.


FPS:
This stands for first-person-shooter, a common gaming genre where you play in the first-person and -- shocker -- shoot at targets. The most common display has a selected firearm as the main visual interface.

An example of an FPS would be the well-known series Call of Duty or Counter-Strike.


Glitches:
This word is mainly used both in gaming culture and even professionally to describe certain graphics lag or bugs in a game. Yes, quality assurance isn't always very reliable or assured.

Common examples include your protagonist floating through a wall in the game, walking under water when they should be swimming, or displaying unfinished objectives for quests you've obviously completed. Or the speedrunner's favorite, a glitch that chucks you to the end of the game. (Speedrunner: someone who tries to beat a game as fast as possible).


MMORPG:
Which stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. This genre is a mixture of RPG and adventure and contains an enormous platform for players, both bots, and humans alike. A great and popular example of this is World of Warcraft.


MOBA:
Which stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. This genre is similar to an MMO, but what takes it apart is the concept of strategy gaming based on fighting within an arena. An example of this would be the universally popular League of Legends or its rival, DOTA.


Mana:
A common term used for a unit of magical power in an RPG game, also known as MP. These points are assigned to a character and sometimes indicate how strong their spells are.


Metagame:
Commonly referred to as meta in multiplayer games, this term is quite complex to understand. Its philosophy claims to define it as a "game within a game," where you, as the gamer, would prepare your character by maintaining a high level of skill and accordingly strengthen them to match the opponent's weaknesses, because you are approaching the game from outside its own environment. Or, to phrase it differently, it's stuff about the game but that isn't in the game, like the competitive Pokemon scene.


NPC:
This stands for non-playable character, or a character within a game that is artificially intelligent and program controlled in an RPG. This can be anyone, from your villagers to your spouse to your mentor and companion in the game, and depending on the developer, can be as interesting as real people or boring as hell...like real people.


Ping:
This term is used as a unit in milliseconds, and it means the amount of time it takes for information within the game to reach the server and back. A low ping usually indicates good chances of a smoother multi-player experience.


PvP:
This stands for player versus player, which is a term used to categorize games where people play against each other in live action. Basically, competitive gaming.

An example of a recent PvP game would be Fortnite: Battle Royale


Sandbox:
This term is used as a reference to open-world games where you can explore to your heart's content, build or destroy whatever you like, or even walk around aimlessly if you please. It's your sandbox; you can do what you want. A good and well-loved example of a sandbox game is Grand Theft Auto.


Spammer:
Another common reference to online shooters and another nuisance. Spammers are players who go berserk on their opponents and will shoot at anyone and anything without prior thought, aim, or skill. Their kills are ultimately worthless because it was based on luck and rather persistent distal finger muscles.


XP:
A shortened but universally understood term for experience points, which you collect as you progress through a game and become better at whatever it is you're doing. Some games offer thresholds for a specific number of XP, and thereafter, you can level up your character and get access to other features such as new weapons, skills, or locations.

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This set of terms are just the tip of the iceberg, the most commonly used among the thousands of terms gamers have put together to communicate their needs more expressively. This list should have you getting a better grasp of the world of online gaming a bit more. You can always refer to these definitions until you get the hang of it, lest you find yourself at risk of being dubbed a n00b.

What are any other terms you deem important enough for this list? Leave us a comment below! 

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Who Are These Dream Friends in Kirby Star Allies? https://www.gameskinny.com/tkurx/who-are-these-dream-friends-in-kirby-star-allies https://www.gameskinny.com/tkurx/who-are-these-dream-friends-in-kirby-star-allies Thu, 15 Mar 2018 12:37:28 -0400 Erroll Maas

During the March 2018 Nintendo Direct, new information for Kirby Star Allies, the pink puffball's debut on the Nintendo Switch, was revealed. This included playable Dream Friends which players can download through a free future update and use as allies in the game. Newer fans of Kirby might be unfamiliar with this group of characters, but they have all appeared in previous Kirby titles -- most notably Kirby's Dream Land 2 for the original Game Boy -- as well as cameos in plenty of other Nintendo games. So who exactly are these returning friends?

 

Rick

Rick is a large hamster who made his first appearance in Kirby's Dream Land 2 alongside other animal friends. He became friends with Kirby after being saved from a group of enemies. Rick can be used to traverse hazardous terrain and doesn't slip on icy platforms. Since Rick is twice the size of Kirby, he can't fit into small spaces, but he can wall jump and defeat enemies by jumping on them. Rick can also inhale enemies, and although he can't gain abilities from this technique, he can combine his abilities with Kirby's for an increased variety of attacks. For Kirby's Dreamland 3 on the Super Nintendo, Rick's inhale ability is replaced by a charging attack. This is where Rick's love interest, Pick, was also introduced.

 

Coo

Coo is an owl, and like Rick, first appeared in Kirby's Dream Land 2. Coo has the ability to fly, which can give players a great advantage in certain situations. Additionally, Coo is strong enough to fly through powerful wind currents. Coo can also combine with Kirby's abilities to use stronger attacks.

 
Kine

Kine is an ocean sunfish who also first appeared in Kirby's Dreamland 2. Kine can help Kirby traverse through water and swim through strong currents, allowing Kirby to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. Kine can be used on land as well, but being a fish, he isn't very useful. In Kirby's Dream Land 3, Kine gained the ability to jump on smaller enemies and had an increase in speed on land, making him just as fast as the other characters. Like the other animal friends, Kine can merge with Kirby's abilities for more attacks.

Gooey

The slime creature Gooey first appeared in Kirby's Dream Land 2, found in bags after defeating specific mid-bosses after the animal friend originally found in the bag is already paired with Kirby. Gooey restores Kirby's health when found. There is also a rare female version of Gooey who grants Kirby an extra life.

Gooey became a playable ally in Kirby's Dreamland 3 and can be controlled by a CPU or second player. Gooey can also eat enemies to gain their abilities, but unlike Kirby, can also use this ability underwater and can't inhale two enemies at once.

 
Marx

Marx first appeared as a supposed ally and later antagonist in the Milky Way Wishes game in Kirby Super Star on the Super Nintendo and its Nintendo DS remake, Kirby Super Star: Ultra. Marx is the only former antagonist -- besides mainstays Meta Knight and King Dedede -- to be announced as a dream friend so far. He appears in his first form in Kirby Star Allies.

More Allies to Come?

Kirby: Star Allies may not be a monumental change for the Kirby franchise, but at least it remembers its roots. Will more characters return? Will we see Adeleine (also known as Ado) from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, or former antagonists like the Squeak Squad from Kirby: Squeak Squad return to help Kirby out? Kirby fans will just have to wait and see for more characters to appear through future updates.

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Modding Skyrim to Make It More Like Dark Souls https://www.gameskinny.com/sv62d/modding-skyrim-to-make-it-more-like-dark-souls https://www.gameskinny.com/sv62d/modding-skyrim-to-make-it-more-like-dark-souls Sat, 10 Mar 2018 14:28:29 -0500 Kengaskhan

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The Grim and Somber ENBs

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Skyrim version can be downloaded here.

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Dark Souls and Skyrim are all about atmosphere, and they both nail it -- in their own respective ways. But if you want to bring Skyrim's atmosphere closer to Dark Souls', you can do to Skyrim what every fantasy and sci-fi film director has done to their own works: add post-processing effects!

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... or, have someone else do it for you!

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The Grim and Somber ENBs are a collection of ENB post-processing presets meant to give Skyrim a darker mood. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it looks to install -- just follow the instructions and you’ll be good to go!

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If none of the Grim and Somber ENB presets are to your taste (or you’re playing Skyrim Special Edition), just be aware that there are tons of ENB presets available at Nexus Mods -- you can find them all here (or here if you’re playing Skyrim Special Edition.)

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---

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Given the depth of Skyrim's modding scene, I'm sure there are plenty of mods that could fit on this list. Let me know of any that I may have missed!

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If you're looking for more Skyrim-related content, you can find it all here!

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Lock-On

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Skyrim version can be downloaded here.

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Skyrim doesn’t have the same omnidirectional camera movement that the Souls games have -- if you have your weapon drawn and you turn your camera, your character turns in that direction too. This makes a lock-on system less of a necessity, but like tumbling, the lock-on system is a pretty big part of Souls combat.

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As far as customization goes, this mod is pretty straightforward, but if you find that the default lock-on texture isn’t to your liking, there’s a Dark Souls-themed texture replacer you can check out.

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Unfortunately, there is no version of this mod currently available for Skyrim Special Edition. However, the Simple Face to Face Conversion mod has a Simple Lock-On Alpha listed under miscellaneous files that you might want to give a try.

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SkyrimSouls -- Unpaused Game Menu

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With “SkyrimSouls” in its title, there can be no mistake about which audience this mod was intended for -- though of course, players looking for a more immersive Skyrim experience will appreciate the mod’s function all the same.

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SkyrimSouls -- Unpaused Game Menu does exactly what it says: it stops in-game menus from pausing the game. This means that you won’t be able to open your inventory to pause combat, chug five healing potions, swap out your armor, eat a wheel of cheese, and then resume combat. The mod is also highly configurable, and you’ll be able to pick and choose which menus you want exempt from the modified menu behavior (for example, you may not want the game to continue running while the system menu is open).

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(If you really want to crack down on the potion chugging, you may want to check out Potions Animated, which forces the player character through a drinking animation whenever they consume a potion.)

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/132d6a4931ec56fc048c8fd47b33bbfb.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/132d6a4931ec56fc048c8fd47b33bbfb.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11937","description":"

VIGILANT

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With VIGILANT, your character becomes a Vigilant of Stendarr tasked with keeping the holds of Skyrim safe from the encroaching darkness. However, things get a little more complicated when a Daedric Prince takes an interest in the Dragonborn.

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VIGILANT is divided into four parts (all included in the mod), taking you on a journey that will bring you to some truly Souls-esque set pieces to fight some equally Souls-esque enemies. VIGILANT also doubles as a weapon & armor mod, and you’ll be able to pick up some setting-appropriate equipment (there’s actually even some Bloodborne stuff in there) as you progress through the story.

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Also note that while the base mod is not voice acted, the Skyrim Voice Alliance produced an English voice acting add-on for the mod -- you can get it 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/w/i/l/wildcat-d215e.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/l/wildcat-d215e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"180765","description":"

Wildcat -- Combat of Skyrim

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One of the Souls series’ hallmark features is the lethality of combat, and it’s not just the player who’s fragile; most of the enemies your size will fall after three or four hits as well.

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There are quite a few highly configurable combat overhauls available for Skyrim that make combat deadlier for all parties involved, but Wildcat in particular is fairly lightweight and adds a few extra mechanics that many Souls veterans will find familiar.

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  • Stamina costs for all attacks, not just power attacks
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  • Faster stamina (and magicka) regeneration
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  • Staggering is more common (though I’d probably disable the injury system)
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  • Increased damage dealt to characters in the middle of an attack
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However, if you've already got a combat overhaul that you like, that should do the job just fine.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/b6a876a160cbe3ba54652b5025738467.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/b6a876a160cbe3ba54652b5025738467.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11936","description":"

TK Dodge

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What would Dark Souls be without dodge rolling? Well, the game would still be beatable for some people, but for the majority of players, it just wouldn’t be the same. Nexus Mods user tktk1 has produced quite a number of highly rated mods for the website (and I recommend checking them out), and amongst the most popular is TK Dodge, which adds a configurable dodge roll to the game.

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You’ll be able to change the dodge’s input method (e.g., double-tapping a movement key to dodge vs. using a dedicated dodge hotkey), adjust the stamina cost and the invincibility frame duration of the dodge, and even choose between two different dodge animations!

"},{"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/k/y/skyrim-header-10f1c.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/k/y/skyrim-header-10f1c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"180759","description":"

Skyrim is a pretty popular game -- so popular, in fact, that Bethesda can't seem to stop themselves from re-releasing it on as many platforms as it'll fit on!

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However, even a game as well regarded as Skyrim has its flaws, as evidenced by the numerous overhauls and tweaks available through mods for the game. Now, you could try to enhance your Skyrim playthrough by downloading a couple of random mods that happen to catch your eye, but you might be better off tailoring your game to build a more cohesive experience.

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For example, why not try modding Skyrim to emulate the gameplay of another third-person, medieval fantasy action-RPG that's actually renowned for its combat?

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Here are six mods that'll bring your Skyrim run a little closer to Dark Souls.

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Distortions Interview: Among Giants CEO Thiago Girello Talks Music + Mechanics https://www.gameskinny.com/cax2z/distortions-interview-among-giants-ceo-thiago-girello-talks-music-mechanics https://www.gameskinny.com/cax2z/distortions-interview-among-giants-ceo-thiago-girello-talks-music-mechanics Wed, 28 Feb 2018 10:45:02 -0500 Vrothgarr

Part exploration, part side-scroller, and all musical, the upcoming Distortions from Brazilian indie dev Among Giants is making noise as a big sleeper gem as it approaches release on Steam this week. In preparation for the game's release, we wanted to delve into this new music-based project that conceptually blends new hybrid mechanics into a beautiful, poetic game that uses music as the connective tissue between narrative, environment, and language.

We had the chance to speak with Among Giants CEO Thiago Girello about Distortions, the inspirations behind the blend, and what range of harmonic (or dissonant) experiences he hopes players find within.

GameSkinny (GS): Eight years ago, what was the very first spark that drew you to blend music so strongly with narrative and gameplay? 

Thiago Girello (TG):This is a great question! Music was a key part of every single development task in Distortions -- and it goes well beyond gameplay mechanics. I used to play in a band. It was incredibly fun, and we had a unique musical style. Sometimes we’d come up with really slow-paced songs -- beautiful and contemplative -- and sometimes we’d play super heavy with a lot of distortion. With this game, we wanted to translate the feeling of playing in a band to a game about the creative process -- and more importantly, the rhythm we enjoy when making and listening to music. So when we started to think about Distortion’s main gameplay mechanic, we came up with music and rhythm. And from that initial seed, narrative, level design, and gameplay naturally followed.

GS: Why a violin? What about that particular instrument inspired the game design based around these musical mechanics?

TG: We chose the violin because it’s an instrument that can play a slow, beautiful melody -- or something really intense, almost heavy-metal like … which was really useful when setting the pace for the game. Also, the violin is a great instrument for solos! Another neat touch is that it makes the protagonist’s silhouette even more intriguing. A violin gives you freedom. While most songs involve holding notes, you can also play like Guitar Hero -- pressing keys like a madman. You can come up with some unique music if you play notes together.

With this game, we wanted to translate the feeling of playing in a band to a game about the creative process -- and more importantly, the rhythm we enjoy when making and listening to music.

GS: Just as Distortions blends music, narrative, and gameplay, it also blends very linear play with open-world mechanics. How did your initial designs approach the idea of an open world alongside other styles of play?

TG: Other types of media are concerned about pace and rhythm -- but games usually aren’t. Movies and books try to keep the audience engaged with rising suspense, drama, comedy, and so on. Games, on the other hand, usually present the player with main gameplay mechanic -- and then keep hammering it until the end of the game! The only difference is that the same actions keep getting harder and harder. In order to fix this, we came up with a more nuanced gameplay mechanic where we changed things up based on rhythm. Music is the origin point, and everything comes out of it like branches on a tree. For example, if the rhythm sort of demands a slow and contemplative moment (like the music we used to play in the band), we switch to a first-person perspective. If we’re dealing with action or tension, we go to a side-scrolling perspective so that players can see who’s chasing them. If the music is all about solitude, Distortions becomes more of an open-world, Metroidvania-style game -- and so on. We still have a core gameplay mechanic (third-person exploration with the violin), but we try to change things up from time to time so that the game can have a more organic pace.

GS: How did you hone the game into a singular experience with all of these very different aspects?

TG: At Among Giants, we all have different backgrounds, such as film and literature. As you can imagine, some serious discipline and teamwork are required in order for everyone to work together! For example, the game’s production design is similar to what would be done for a feature film. It’s fascinating to watch someone get a taste of Distortions by playing part of a pre-release build at an industry event. We teach the game’s logic and overall concept through cadence and repetition. Players initially don´t know what to expect because everything is so different from other games they have played before. But they start to really get into it and have a great time. We love seeing that process take place.

GS: In a game called Distortions, how do themes like harmony and dissonance run through the player's own experience?

TG: What we do is invite players to use something we call "blank spaces,” which allows them to “fill in the blanks” with their own experiences. For example, we never talk about what happened to the main character or about her ultimate reality. We are always working with words like “memory” and “expectations” -- a type of subjective layer, and a subtext for the game as a whole. The beauty of that approach is that it allows players to put their own reality and relationships in the game, so to speak. Also, all the characters use masks. You can put any face you choose behind them, which is priceless on its own. And no one has names, either: The main character is simply called the Girl, and the monster is the Monster. There are other characters, sure -- including the writer and the masked ones; players can name them if they feel a need to do so. We’ve added “blank spaces” such as these throughout the game as much as possible.

GS: You worked with three different bands, one local to Brazil and two from the U.S., to create the unique soundtrack for the game. Describe the challenge of designing a game so closely tied to musical mechanics with so much highly creative input from separate teams.

TG: Before we even started working on Distortions, we spent a huge amount of time researching the music and overall feel we wanted for the game. After that was done, we got in touch with certain bands to see if we could use their music -- not as a finished product but a joint, collaborative effort. It was a triple-pronged approach: There was original music that we composed, another musician in São Paulo, and a studio in Rio de Janeiro. We needed this variety because the main character has difficulty expressing herself through words -- so she relies on music instead. For example, in the beginning, the Girl doesn’t have her own voice, so we use the tracks to make up for that. Toward the middle of the game and near the end, the Girl learns to play music by ear and improvise finally finding her own, unique voice.

You can find Distortions on Steam and the Windows Store on March 1, 2018.

 

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Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption Is as Beautifully Macabre as it Looks https://www.gameskinny.com/g8l4y/sinner-sacrifice-for-redemption-is-as-beautifully-macabre-as-it-looks https://www.gameskinny.com/g8l4y/sinner-sacrifice-for-redemption-is-as-beautifully-macabre-as-it-looks Fri, 23 Feb 2018 11:52:28 -0500 Spongehoe

You've probably heard ramblings on the net about a new pseudo-genre comparing a majority of morbid, challenging games to a Dark Souls theme. One can name a number of games -- indie, mobile, and console -- that fit the title. And while the indie action-RPG Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption definitely bears an uncanny resemblance to the Souls games, it's a unique, refreshing, and creative look into what it means to battle your inner self. 

Possibly inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy, Sinner is Dark Star Studio's debut single-player release. The Hong Kong-based developer has produced a sinister and rather sardonically religious concept of gameplay, and what seemed to be an endless supply of grisly bosses kept me awake in the wee hours of the night, trying desperately to get through a single round. 

A Mysterious Venture for Atonement 

The morbid storyline is exactly as it sounds. You play as Adam, a small amnesiac knight that represents the whole of mankind. While he unravels his nightmarish past, he must face each of his seven sins in horrific caricatures. These abhorrent reflections of human evil can only be accessed by sacrificing his stats to gain atonement for his deeds.

Perhaps what bothered me most about the game was the minimal focus on the storyline. Sure, it's an action-based game, but it would have been more enjoyable if the story (which is rather creative) had been produced in a dynamic manner. Instead, we get attractive, monochromatic, manga-style slides and short, vague descriptions of the protagonist's role. 

I appreciate it when a game cuts to the chase, but not when you're left slightly clueless as to the background. Sinner is a simple, straightforward series of major challenges, but it bears a fascinating and dark undertone I would have loved to hear more about. 

Elementary Combat Against an Impossible Feat

The gameplay begins in dreary, bleak scenery reminiscent of a cemetery, with a variety of symbolic tombstones around the perimeter. Two of them are activated from the start -- your pick of who you'd like to face first. I went with Faiz Tilus, or Greed, as a beginner, seeing as it was proximal to my starting point, only to realize my health and stamina were compromised, and I couldn't get a hold of the game at first. To warm my hands to the controls and combat, taking on Levin Undok, or Envy, made the harrowing task a lot simpler. 

To say the battles are challenging is putting it lightly. As there are no practice enemies between bosses to hone your combat skills, each and every one of them requires a unique approach to take down -- and often more than five tries, give or take. As you sacrifice your strengths to each against your will, you need to figure out where -- and how -- to take down the opponent standing before you without compromising what little health, stamina, or items you have.

Some of these bad boys require a distant, thoughtful approach; others require a gradual fatality. It's up to you to decide how you want to put each of the sins down. These bastards also come with customized prowess to make your gameplay hell. Levin Undok, who represents Envy, for example, is a tall and vengeful creature who is relatively easy to take down compared to the others. However, she is accompanied by a twin (exactly like her but with a different, long-range attack), and this particular objective becomes a twofold challenge.

I don't mean to be catty but I really can't STAND this bimbo

At some points in the game, you will feel as if it's impossible to progress forward. Dark Souls also has this element of perpetual desperation to get through a boss. It's frustrating enough to want to tug your hair out, but with focus and determination, it's a manageable challenge. Like Adam, you should be willing to sacrifice your time and attention to achieve the redemption you deserve. As your protagonist levels down with each enemy, you too humble yourself in the face of justice.

A Harrowing Theme of Desperation and Melancholy

Suffice it to say that the game is beautiful for such a minimalist concept. I played it on my laptop at the lowest possible resolution, and I still found the game environment appropriate to the nature of the game. 

The bosses were grotesque, and their settings daunting but magnificent nonetheless. The creative Del Toro-meets-steampunk design of the Sins is refreshing and honestly unique to the game. It leaves a trademark appearance of each Sin bearing a characteristic representative of its nature, and if that isn't unspoken storytelling in visuals, I don't know what is. 

The game bears just the right shades of dread and sadness, and just the right setting for a theme of purgatory and atonement. The melancholy soundtrack was catchy for some of the opponents, and I only say this because I caught myself humming them in the shower subconsciously. 

Frustrations ...

Restoration of health or usage of weapons is often ridiculously slow. The response times of certain commands usually begin to lag at really bad moments -- you could be inches away from defeating the Devil himself, and you'd falter only because your little man is lying on the ground for a good two minutes without moving. As expected for a new game, naturally, it's not going to be perfect. This can fortunately be prevented by strategically maneuvering your combat to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Another concept I personally found tormenting was the lack of camera flexibility. A majority of games offer 360 spanning, but this feature of a locked-in screen was suffocating at first. As you move around and enter combat, the camera will span by default to suit your senses, and you adjust to it -- but to me, that wasn't enough. It gave me a narrow environment to work with and an odd initial feeling of claustrophobia. I'm a spoiled gamer, I admit.

Final Thoughts 

Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption was a self-explanatory title I enjoyed pulling through. With balancing work and school, the therapeutic distraction of challenging combat was a blessing on the mind. It's a beautifully morbid game with a touch of medieval fantasy and folklore. 

If you're a Dark Souls or Shadow of Colossus fan, or even a newbie looking for a new taste of the genre, you can pick up Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption on Steam, Xbox One, or PS4 on April 25th of this year.  

 

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From the Armchair: 6 Madden NFL 19 Cover Athlete Predictions https://www.gameskinny.com/ltziw/from-the-armchair-6-madden-nfl-19-cover-athlete-predictions https://www.gameskinny.com/ltziw/from-the-armchair-6-madden-nfl-19-cover-athlete-predictions Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:24:07 -0500 Jonathan Moore

It's already time to dial in our predictions for Madden 19's cover athlete. In the wake of Super Bowl 52, where the Philadelphia Eagles knocked off the New England Patriots for their first Championship of the Super Bowl era, and with the combine already behind us, it's time to turn our attention to Madden 19

While many football fans tuned in to the Super Bowl for the zany commercials -- or just to watch the “Evil Empire” burn -- other NFL fans were thinking of something grander, something much more meaningful than the Lombardi Trophy. And while scouts were watching college standouts show out in the combine, I was thinking of the legends that would make the cover of Madden NFL 19.

OK. Maybe I was the only one actually thinking about Madden NFL 19’s cover during the Super Bowl and throughout the combine, but I get paid to think about these things. So here we are, nearly a month later -- and we’re only slightly closer to having the answers we seek.

So who are we left with now that Brady didn’t secure his sixth Super Bowl Championship? Well, there are the obvious contenders, of course. But there are also others I think have a legitimate shot of making the cover this year that you may not have considered. With the relative parity in the NFL throughout the 2017 season, it's really anybody's game.

Carson Wentz & Nick Foles (QBs) -- Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz and Nick FolesSource:Sherdog

We’ve had two athletes on the cover before -- so why not now?

While one of these quarterbacks was a second-year phenom and the other a grizzled back-up veteran, both of these quarterbacks rose to the occasion time and time again throughout the 2017 NFL season. Sure, the Eagles had plenty of standout players on their roster, but without either of these quarterbacks, the Eagles would’ve been going through mock draft scenarios in early February instead of competing for a Super Bowl title.

If I had to put my money on it, I’d say at least one of these guys makes the cover of Madden NFL 19 -- if not both of them. 

Looking at Wentz's 2017 performance, it’s impossible to deny he had one of the best sophomore seasons in NFL history. Comparing his '17 statline against his 2016 statline, it's immediately apparent he was well on track to obliterate his fantastic rookie-year numbers. What’s more impressive is that he drastically reduced the number of interceptions thrown in 2017, while at the same time dramatically increasing the number of touchdowns thrown (of which he now holds the Eagle’s single-season record at 33).

Add to that nearly a 30 point increase in passer rating (79.3 to 101.9) and the fact he did that with three fewer games under his belt due to a season-ending ACL injury in Week 14 against the Los Angeles Rams, and Carson Wentz is basically a no-brainer for Madden 19’s cover.  

Carson Wentz StatlineSource: ESPN.com

Looking at Foles, it’s true that his numbers are nothing to write home about, especially when you compare them to Wentz’s. But this is where I’m drinking the Kool-Aid and going with intangibles.

We’ve seen Nick Foles struggle with the Eagles, Rams, and Chiefs in the past. In fact, he’s a career backup and not necessarily someone you want helming your offense for the long term. But we saw something in 2017 that we’ve never really seen from Nick Foles before: complete resolve and confidence under pressure.

Foles essentially put the Eagles on his back and not only played not to lose -- but expressly played to win. The two things that immediately stand out when looking at his 2017 postseason stat line are his TD/INT ratio and his passer rating. Both are exactly where you want them to be -- especially for a QB that basically played only two games for the Eagles in 2017.

It’s safe to say that without Nick Foles as the backup to Carson Wentz, the Eagles most likely would’ve fizzled in the playoffs, squandering a miraculous season and going home early. And to think, Nick Foles once thought about retiring.

Jacksonville Jaguars Defense

Jacksonville Jaguars Defense (Sacksonville)Source: The New York Times

While we’re on the topic of having multiple athletes on the cover of Madden NFL 19, no list of this magnitude would be complete without including the Jacksonville Jaguars defense.

But I hear you say, "The Vikings had the number-one-rated defense in 2017 -- how can the Jags be on this list and not them?" Well, it’s simple really: the Jaguars were in the top six in terms of PPG, YPG, rushing TDs allowed per game, sacks per game, opponent passer rating, interceptions, and takeaways.

They were the only team of the final four to accomplish that feat.

With standouts like Calais Campbell, Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Yannick Ngakoue, and more, the Jaguars gave opposing defenses fits for the entire NFL season (not to mention the time they made Big Ben question whether he “still had it”). Fifteen defensive players registered 20 or more total tackles in the 2017 campaign, and the entire team registered 950 total tackles -- only 114 fewer tackles than all of their opponents combined. On top of that, five Jaguars players worked together to secure 21 total interceptions combined.

And those stats are just in the regular season.

Considering the season as a whole, it’s no wonder four Jaguars players went to the 2018 Pro Bowl (the team’s first representatives since 1999). The most important fact about that stat? All of them were on defense. No other team had as many defensive players play in the Pro Bowl this year as the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Because of that -- and because the defense was the primary reason the team was even in the playoffs for the first time in 10 years --  "Sacksonville" is a solid contender for the cover of Madden NFL 19.

Alvin Kamara (RB) -- New Orleans Saints

Alvin KamaraSource:DailyPlayAction

Named Offensive Rookie of the Year by the NFL at large, Alvin Kamara had an astounding season for the New Orleans Saints. Confident and electric, Kamara immobilized defenses around the league and surged to a league-best 6.1 yards per carry for RBs with 120 carries or more. Looking at his overall stat line, it’s easy to get caught up in his numbers on the ground. Netting 728 yards running between the tackles, Kamara only fumbled the ball once, while putting the pigskin in the endzone eight times.

Of course, those numbers alone are impressive for a 22-year-old rookie. But when you look at his receiving numbers, his total contribution to the Saints offensive comes into full, mind-boggling focus. A constant target for quarterback Drew Brees, Kamara was able to gash opposing secondaries for 826 yards and five touchdowns on 81 receptions.

Tack on to that Kamara was also a dangerous return man -- netting 347 yards on 11 attempts with a touchdown -- and it’s obvious why he was the best rookie in the NFL in 2017.

A fantastic running back can make any quarterback or team look good. And although the Saints got beat on a miracle by the Vikings in the NFC Divisional round, it’s clear that one of the main reasons they were in the playoffs at all was because of Alvin Kamara.

Todd Gurley II (RB) -- Los Angeles Rams

Todd Gurley IISource: TheFrontPageOnline

Speaking of running backs, third-year running back Todd Gurley II had another standout season for the Los Angeles Rams. Expertly complementing a much-improved Jared Goff (QB), the dynamic Gurley II improved on his numbers over his previous two seasons with the Rams and proved to be one of the best offensive players in all of football this season.

Surpassing only Le’Veon Bell in 2017, Gurley II produced 1,305 yards on 279 carries. He averaged 4.7 yards per attempt, had eight carriers for more than 20 yards, and put the pigskin in the endzone 13 times on the ground. Not only does Gurley II make himself a formidable weapon going between the tackles, but he’s proven that he can be a hobgoblin on the edges, too.

That means he’s a great target in the passing game. Looking at his 2017 statline, it’s clear Gurley II was (and is) a weapon of mass destruction, wreaking havoc on opponent secondaries. Across 48 receptions, Gurley II secured 788 yards with 16.4 YPC. He also found the endzone six times.

Those numbers make him a worthy contender for Madden 19’s cover athlete.

Antonio Brown (WR) -- Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio BrownSource:ClutchPoints

There’s little doubt Antonio Brown is one of the best wide receivers to ever play the game of football. He’s a six-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro, two-time NFL receiving yards leader, and a two-time NFL receptions leader. Oh, and he was drafted in 2010, so he’s done all of that in eight seasons.  

Looking at the wideout field in 2017, Brown was at the top of the class, only rivaled by the Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins.

Brown had an insane '17 statline: 1,533 yards receiving across 99 receptions, 15.5 YPC, 109.5 YPG, and nine touchdowns. Even though the Jaguars defeated the Steelers in the AFC Divisional Round, Brown was a big reason the Steelers almost came out on top, outclassing some of the best players in one of the league’s best secondaries. Take a look at the footage and it’s clear Brown is a monster at the position.

He wasn’t targeted as many time as Hopkins -- that's true -- and he wasn’t the only target for Big Ben like Hopkins was for T.J. Yates and Tom Savage -- that's true, too. But Brown made plenty of impossible catches to keep his team in the hunt -- and to help the Steelers lead the league in passing yards per game and get into the playoffs.

And when you compare him to Hopkins in 2017, Brown had eight 100+ yard games, while Hopkins had five. Tack on to that Brown has eight 1,000+ yard seasons in his career, and it’s about time he made the cover of Madden

Sean McVay (HC) -- Los Angeles Rams

Sean McVaySource:MYAJC

Not since the eponymous John Madden graced the cover of Madden 2000 have we had a coach featured on the binding of a Madden game.

But it’s time to change that.

When he was hired by the Los Angeles Rams to replace Jeff Fisher in 2017, 30-year-old Sean McVay became the youngest head coach in modern NFL history. On paper, that might seem like a recipe for continued disaster for the then-abysmal Rams. But in a bit of irony, it was astounding what McVay was able to do with the Rams in 2017. 

Taking the team to its first playoff appearance in 13 years, McVay and the Rams may have lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the Wild Card round, but it's one of the few times a loss can be seen as promising. That McVay was even able to steer his team to a winning record and the playoffs in his first season speaks volumes to his uncanny coaching acumen. Whereas Fisher misused key pieces of the Rams offense and defense, McVay built a culture that took the team from 4-12 in 2016 to 11-6 in 2017.

We’ve already looked at Todd Gurley II and the monster season he had under McVay’s tutelage (Gurley II had 881 more total yards and 13 more touchdowns in 2017 than he did in 2016). But taking a closer look at second-year QB Jared Goff and the Rams defense highlights McVay’s ability to generate a winning team culture.

In 2017, Goff won 11 games and threw for nearly 4,000 yards and 28 TDs across 296 completions. In 2016, he lost all of the games he started (seven) and threw for a measly 1,089 yards and five touchdowns across 112 completions. Whereas 2016 was a harbinger of a wasted career, 2017 showed that Goff really is worth the hype.

And under Fisher, that most likely wouldn’t have been the case.

In 2016, the Rams offense ranked dead last in the league, while the team’s defense ranked 23rd, seven spots from dead last. To say the team was in shambles is an understatement. But in 2017, under McVay, the Rams ranked first in total offense and 12th in total defense. If that’s not a turnaround, I don’t know what is.

So if we were ever going to get a coach on the cover of Madden (sans Bill Belichick), Sean McVay is the perfect candidate -- and his time is now.

---

Every year, it’s really a toss-up as to who’s chosen to grace the cover of the latest Madden game. And there are always worthy players who never make the cover, no matter their stat lines or accomplishments. It’s also highly probable that greats like Le’Veon Bell, Khalil Mack, DeAndre Hopkins, or the Vikings defense could grace this year’s cover. Only time (and voting) will tell.

Who do you think should be on the cover of Madden NFL 19? Sound off in the comments below!

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9 Mobile Games With Surprisingly Deep Storylines https://www.gameskinny.com/8zj0i/9-mobile-games-with-surprisingly-deep-storylines https://www.gameskinny.com/8zj0i/9-mobile-games-with-surprisingly-deep-storylines Tue, 20 Feb 2018 20:21:42 -0500 Blackcreed11

Mobile games are far from the usual gamer's choice of gaming. In fact, it is difficult to find a mobile game that keeps the player interested as well as has a story that's worthwhile. Here are nine mobile games with unexpected storylines that will have you hooked.

1. Homescape

This game involves you helping a character named Austin the Butler, who moves back home with his parents. His old childhood home is a bit of a fixer upper, but you help him improve the house. The game is a mix between The Sims and Candy Crush SagaAs you play the match-3 games, players earn money and help him make improvements on the home. This game is available in Google Play Store.

2. Infinity Blade

This game is an RPG combat adventure where, as the player, you face off against the main antagonist. The game plays in cycles, allowing you to fight the antagonist every time it is reborn. As the main character, Siris, you are on a mission to find what killed your father. The game consists of swipes to attack and dodge the enemy. This game you can find in iTunes App Store.

3. Device 6

This is a text-based game that uses images and sounds to guide the player through a set of puzzles, which the in-game protagonist, Anna, needs to solve to escape from an unknown island. She wakes up in a castle as she meets strange people and creatures appearing to be unresponsive or electronically controlled. The game consists of swiping the screen to move through or to review the story, using buttons to interact with in-game elements, shown in black-and-white pictures to get hints or to solve a puzzle.  Device 6 is available in the iTunes App Store.

4. The Room

This mystery puzzle game has four levels, each of which gives clues for the player to solve puzzles that reveal the plot of the story and lead to the next level. These clues are left behind by a benefactor and each clue brings you closer to the truth and a revelation about the story. This game can be found in the Google App Store as well as the iTunes App Store.

5. LONEWOLF

This indie title is a first-person sniper game with moral conflicts and a main character seeking revenge for the death of his family. It has a neo-noir style, which adds more suspense to the drama. The beginning missions start out easy and let you get accustomed with the system. The controls are simple and the aim is in the middle of the screen. Look for this game in the Google App Store.

6. Sinister Edge

This Android game allows for exploring locations, complex puzzle mechanics, and detailed surroundings full of unexpected occurrences. As the player, you are looking for your missing family members and uncovering a dark truth. This 3D game is available in the Google Play Store and iTunes App store.

7. Dark Meadow: The Pact

The game starts with you waking up in an abandoned, decrepit hospital with no memory. There is a strange man in a wheelchair warning you of the creatures dwelling within the halls and mentions a "witch" before quickly rolling away, never to be seen again. The game is in first person view; you can explore your strange new world. Touching certain items will open them and give you items. Small green nodes on the ground show you where you can go, and the controls are a simple tap and go; no on-screen D-Pad. Make sure to check this game out at the Google Play store and the iTunes App Store.

8. SIM- Sara is Missing

The game takes place on a lost cell phone which the player has found. The phone belongs to a girl named Sara. The phone seems to have been corrupted and the phone’s AI system, I.R.I.S. greets you with a friendly “Hello Sara." After typing responses to I.R.I.S, it soon becomes apparent Sara is in grave danger. You as the player must help I.R.I.S find Sara by searching through the most recent text messages, notes, emails, pictures and music to try and find relevant information on Sara. The iTunes App Store and Google Play App Store both have this game

9. Ninja Arashi

The game starts with the escape of the main villain from his prison. The villain proceeds to kill Arashi's wife and kidnaps his son. The game consists of using all the main character’s weapons in defeating the villains in the hopes of finding his son. The graphics are reminiscent of the Edo time period and the colors used for special attacks and traps are beautiful. The controls on the left side of the screen are two arrows used for moving either left and right. On the right side are four other buttons used to perform a variety of commands. This game is available in the iTunes App Store as well as the Google Play Store.

Check some of these games out and see which one you like!

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Exploring the Reality of Legendary Gary: A Chat with Evan Rogers https://www.gameskinny.com/3loww/exploring-the-reality-of-legendary-gary-a-chat-with-evan-rogers https://www.gameskinny.com/3loww/exploring-the-reality-of-legendary-gary-a-chat-with-evan-rogers Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:12:20 -0500 Kat De Shields

Some call it the age of indies, where small and solo studios are creating games that give AAA titles a run for their money in entertainment value and meaning. Gameplay programmer Evan Rogers has sampled the best of both worlds. 

Nearly four years in the making, Legendary Gary launched today on Steam. It's Evan's first solo project after working on notable titles like Naughty Dog's The Last of Us and Giant Sparrow's What Remains of Edith FinchEvan took the time to speak with us about development, inspiration, and lessons learned along the way.

GameSkinny:  You’ve been working on Legendary Gary for four years. What was the seed that started it all?

Evan Rogers: I’ve been working on it for three years, but I took a year off to work on What Remains of Edith Finch (WRoEF). I wanted to make a game by myself for a long time. In middle school, I would make games that could hardly be called games. Building my skills so I can make a game has been a long-term goal of mine for a while. I had a lot of different ideas before I arrived at the ideas currently in Legendary Gary (LG).

It all started right after I left Naughty Dog. I was there for two years working on The Last of Us (TLoU) as an AI programmer and some multiplayer stuff. My dad got brain cancer six months before we shipped, and he was rushed to surgery and came out with half his body paralyzed. My mom was taking care of him, and was using up all of her vacation time in the process. I was flying home once or twice a month from LA to NY to spend time with him because every time he went into surgery, we thought maybe he was going to die or be in a coma.

My parents' options were to put him in a skilled nursing facility where they would take care of him or hire a full-time nurse that was just too expensive for them. My dad was terrified of going to a skilled nursing facility because one of the requirements for that was going into hospice. He wouldn’t get chemo, so there wouldn’t be any chance of survival. When TLoU was finished, I quit and moved back to NY to be my dad’s nurse for awhile so my mom could go back to work. Before that, I had this plan -- I knew my plan was to leave Naughty Dog and set out on my own to make a game. I was planning on sticking around longer than I did -- but my dad’s illness became my impetus to leave.

So then, as I’m home, I was part-time playing with a bunch of different ideas, and I prototyped a lot of ideas before I came to LG. I knew whatever I chose would take me a long time because there’s a tremendous amount of effort that goes into making a game. I knew this had to be an idea that I wouldn’t be sick of three years later. If this was going to be the only game I ever made, I wanted it to be one I’d be most proud of.

That being said, there were a lot of requirements. I wanted it to be a story that’s very personal to me and says what I want it to say. Also, something that had all of the aspects that I really enjoy in games. That’s why LG is a tactical strategy game, because I play chess and I really like strategy games. It also has a bizarre fantasy world that evokes the themes that I really liked from my childhood. Most of all, I like stories that try to create a whole world and invent ideas as opposed to working with the ideas that other genres have created.

The one piece of feedback I get from everyone’s who’s seen the trailer is, “That’s really weird.”

I’ve been making it so long it doesn’t seem that weird to me anymore, but I suppose it is pretty weird.

GS: So, when people describe the game as being weird, does that put you off, or is that the intention you were going for?

ER: Usually they combine it with something nice to say, so it doesn’t put me off too much. I wouldn’t say it was my goal to be weird for the sake of being weird. I wanted to create something new. One of the questions I’ve gotten a few times is “Is there a logic behind this, or is it just randomness?” There is a logic. There’s lore and history to the world, and there’s relationships between characters and reasons why things are the way they are.

Some aspects are inspired by The NeverEnding Story -- a weird, mystical 80s fantasy -- others by Myst and Riven; they do a fantastic job of inventing a world out of whole cloth. They borrow things you recognize but combine them in an interesting way.

GS: Not quite a one-man band, but close, as the music for the game was created by xXsickXx. How did you juggle everything?

ER: xXsickXx is a French musician who makes music on his PC by himself. I searched for a long time for a musician that I thought would fit the tone of the game and bring life to it, and I really loved his music. I thought it was perfect.

As far as juggling everything, I did it slowly. I’d  work on one thing for a while and then switch to another in big chunks. One of the things that’s different about developing a game by yourself versus on a team is how things move. On a team, everything’s moving at once. The art, the code, the design are all being made concurrently. With me, I had to do them one at a time. I had to prioritize what I think is most important, make a plan for myself, and guess where the dependencies will be. I went round robin between design, code and art.

GS: What’s been your favorite part of making Legendary Gary?

ER: I feel most confident at programming, as that’s been my career outside of this. It’s the skill set that’s most developed. With some of the other things, it was the first time I was doing it for work instead of fun. Sometimes I felt like I was flailing around --  trying things and them not working. Design is really hard. With coding, you know that you failed because it doesn’t work. With design, sometimes you don’t realize it doesn’t work until people don’t like it, and you still don’t really know why it doesn’t work. Design has to work with fuzzy answers to questions and fuzzy solutions. Luckily, I have a lot of designer friends who have been willing to help.

GS: What influenced Legendary Gary’s storyline and art direction?

ER: Growing up, I loved animation and comics. There's something really personal about a hand-drawn art style. I intentionally wanted the game to be a little bit messy. For example, I hand drew every line instead of using the line tool because there's something about hand-drawn lines that reminds you that a person made this. It didn’t come out of a machine or an army of people. A person did this to communicate something to you. It was that intimacy -- that this is important enough to someone for them to go through the difficulty of hand drawing everything. They’re trying to communicate something to you that they think is important.

I had a lot of nostalgia for playing old JRPGS. You can still play them, but they didn’t affect me the same way as they did as a kid. As an adult, the concerns of my day-to-day life are so different, it’s hard to imagine myself as a JRPG character because everything is very dramatic in that space. I wanted the feeling I got as a kid playing old JRPGS like Final Fantasy or Dragon Warriors -- roaming the land, forming friends, and fighting monsters -- and somehow ground it with what matters to me now as an adult. I’m a huge Persona fan -- it was a huge inspiration for making a game that blends fantasy and reality. This is how I came up with the dual reality premise.

Legendary Gary is a game about a guy playing a game, and the fantasy world is a mirror of his real life. The game kind of plays with the juxtaposition of fantasy. The things that matter to a hero in a fantasy world are ridiculous, but the things that matter to Gary in his real life are very mundane and not the stuff of fiction. The things that actually matter to us day-to-day are mundane, but they still matter. The story is about a guy who’s trying to be a better person. More responsible and more present for the people who care about him. More attentive to what they need from him. The things you’re choosing for him to do are small gestures, but to him in his life, they matter a lot.

GS: Do you think you working on The Last of Us and What Remains of Edith Finch impacted Legendary Gary in some ways?

ER:That’s a good question. I think if I psychoanalyzed myself, I could properly figure out how those things did influence the story of Legendary Gary.

They were both informative to me about how to make a video game, and I learned a lot from the people I worked with. Uncharted is one of my favorite game series, which is why I was so excited to work for Naughty Dog. But, Uncharted is another great example of a video game character whose reality is so over the top it’s hard to imagine yourself in any of the situations Nathan Drake finds himself in. What’s interesting about TLoU is that they grounded their fiction in a really powerful way, and a lot of it is about small gestures, showing humanity to the people around you, and dealing with feelings of being futile and powerless. Which I think are also themes in LG for sure.

WRoEF is also a great game that deals with subject matter you wouldn’t typically find in games or fiction. It’s about coming to terms with death and remembering the dead in your family. It explores the nature of storytelling about the dead and how we dramatize how our family members lived versus the reality of who they really were. I wrote a lot of LG’s story before WRoEF, but it operates in the same space of what we accept as true versus what is actually true -- it's often very different.

When I was working on WRoEF, I thought it was wonderful that there was a game about these concepts. I didn’t expect anyone outside the team would get it or appreciate it, though. I was blown away with how well it did critically, and how many people did get it and how big the reception was. That gave me a lot of enthusiasm going forward in LG -- knowing that people can get games with that level of nuance.

GS: So, what's next? Solo game dev for the foreseeable future, or will you join an existing team again? Perhaps both?

ER: I’m not going to jump back into solo dev again -- at at least for a while. It was an interesting experience to do everything myself, and it allowed me to do all the things that would be hard to do on a team. I could make bold decisions independently.

You don’t have to convey to other people exactly what you want -- especially if you’re not even sure what you want. I think that’s why some games today are kind of derivative. The easiest way to explain what you want is to refer to something else that we all know. I wanted to make unique choices.

The novelty of a game is really important when you’re making a small game. If you’re making a game that’s like another game, you have to outdo them, which is hard to do as a small team. Making something original -- there’s value in that.

I wanted to try to do it all myself, however it’s an insane amount of work -- it’s a huge financial risk. So I’m probably not going to do it again on my next thing. Not sure what I’ll do after LG, but probably not another solo project.

Legendary Gary is available on Steam for $14.99. You can keep up with Evan Rogers on Twitter at @evanmakesgames. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Legendary Gary news and our official review.

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Felix the Reaper Presents a Fun Dance With Death (Preview) https://www.gameskinny.com/3g670/felix-the-reaper-presents-a-fun-dance-with-death-preview https://www.gameskinny.com/3g670/felix-the-reaper-presents-a-fun-dance-with-death-preview Mon, 19 Feb 2018 16:00:41 -0500 Kat De Shields

If you would describe yourself as having a “dark sense of humor,” you’ll certainly want to keep an eye on Felix the Reaper.

Created by Kong Orange, a development studio based in Denmark, Felix, the titular Reaper, is a suit-wearing, be-bopping harbinger of death. Your job is to help him boogie down in the shadows to stage the deaths of unwitting souls in his midst.

According to Felix the Reaper’s website:

“Felix The Reaper is a romantic comedy about the life of Death. It's brought to you on PC as a 3D shadow manipulation puzzle adventure game of dance, dying people and dangerous love.”

Felix is madly in love with Betty the Maiden, and he’s working on his dancing skills to win her over. As a field reaper, he visits the human world to make sure people die the way they are destined to.  

As a character, Felix is a very likable remix of the classic Father Doom trope that usually goes along with the Grim Reaper. On multiple occasions, I found myself shimmying in my seat as I went about solving the puzzles ... and I’m sure you will, too.

Solving the puzzles requires managing toggles that move certain objects, picking up things and moving them, and -- most importantly -- managing the sun’s direction so you can safely walk in the shadows. Field Notes at the start of each level give you an animated clip of your objectives, and it is up to you to complete the task to move Felix one step closer to completing his deathly duties. As if Felix’s constant twirling and dancing weren’t enough to make you feel good, Kong Orange also threw in words of encouragement when you’re on the right track.

One of Felix the Reaper's many puzzles

It's a game that makes you feel good about Death. 

Your performance stats for each level are tracked, and there’s opportunity to go back and try to complete the puzzle with fewer moves, with fewer sun turns, in less time, and so on. It appears that the game will also include a “hardcore elite reaper trainee version,” but this wasn’t accessible in the demo.

At first glance, the game’s aesthetic has a distinct Roman Dirge feel to it. Fans of Lenore: the Cute Little Dead Girl, and Johnen Vasquez’s Johnny the Homicidal Maniac will feel right at home with the dark comedy Felix the Reaper presents. However, a wildly dancing protagonist (no seriously, he dances constantly) and a colorful setting add an energetic overtone to smooth the darker edges.   

Completing puzzles in Felix the Reaper unlocks bonuses like this disco floor

You get your very own disco floor when you successfully complete an objective. 

The game’s aesthetics are furthered by the music. Kong Orange collected a diverse set list, and each level has its own tune. A feature I appreciated is the radio panel within the in-game menu which allows you to toggle back and forth between tracks you’ve discovered thus far. 

Although there’s no release date, you can keep up with Felix and the development team’s journey on the Felix the Reaper website, where you can check out trailers, behind-the-scenes footage, and other fun things related to the game.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Felix the Reaper news.

*The developer provided GameSkinny with a press demo for the purpose of this preview.*

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What Are FF12 TZA's New Game Plus and Minus Modes? https://www.gameskinny.com/p9n45/what-are-ff12-tzas-new-game-plus-and-minus-modes https://www.gameskinny.com/p9n45/what-are-ff12-tzas-new-game-plus-and-minus-modes Fri, 16 Feb 2018 10:39:18 -0500 wlkrjesse

Final Fantasy XIIThe Zodiac Age is an HD remaster of the last PS2 entry in the franchise, with the new PC release including three different versions of the soundtrack, the ability to run at 60 FPS, as well as New Game Plus and Minus Modes (also included in the 2017 console version).

Colloquially referred to as "Strong" and "Weak" modes, they offer two radically different ways to replay the game. New Game Plus, or "Strong" mode, starts your party off at Level 90 from the get-go, letting you mow down enemies so you're better able to rush end game espers. On the other hand, Minus, or "Weak" mode, starts you off at levels one through four and provides no experience gains. If you're the type who likes incredibly challenging runs, this may be the mode for you.


Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is available now through Steam.

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An Interview with Jason Walsh, Lead Developer of Monster Crown https://www.gameskinny.com/jkpi4/an-interview-with-jason-walsh-lead-developer-of-monster-crown https://www.gameskinny.com/jkpi4/an-interview-with-jason-walsh-lead-developer-of-monster-crown Thu, 15 Feb 2018 13:53:38 -0500 Erroll Maas

Jason Walsh is the lead developer of the recently rebranded upcoming indie monster-raising RPG, Monster Crown. He took some time out of his busy development schedule to sit down and chat with me about what inspired the game and how some of its mechanics differ from similar games in the subgenre.

Erroll Maas: How did you come up with the name Crowns/ Monster Crown, and what were some other names you were considering?

Jason Walsh: When the Crowns project first began, the scope and ideas were much smaller than they are today, but one thing was always important -- this was going to be a game about monsters that all wanted to be top dog, and it was going to have a story about characters that wanted "The Crown," either literally, in a kingdom, or figuratively, in a power struggle. Crowns felt right, but as time went by, people kept saying, 'This doesn't tell me much about the game,' or 'What does Crowns mean?' Obviously you can't reply to those questions with a full knowledge drop on the motivations of the monster or characters -- or well, you shouldn't (I certainly more than once dropped a long-winded explanation). We even had some people say that they expected some Civilization-esque medieval game after hearing the title. It also wasn't very searchable. People may hear of Crowns, go to look it up, and basically only find information about a British TV show! The concept of Crowns really stuck, though, and people had come to know us. From there, Monster Crown evolved quite naturally.

EM: What influenced the decision for Monster Crown to contain a darker narrative and lore than other games in the subgenre?

JW: Well, growing up with monster-catching games, I really took to them. Thoughts of them would invade my every waking hour -- they lit up my imagination. Whether it was Pokemon, Dragon Warrior Monsters, Digimon, Telefang, or Monster Rancher, I was hooked on the concept of having these awesome monster companions and traveling with them. But there was some dark recess of my mind that also got sort of wrapped into it. I remember a very distinct dream where I was exploring and came across these very dark, vicious, nightmarish monsters. I found some secret in the game, and a world of horrors was unleashed. It scared me quite a bit, but as I grew older, it turned to a fascination. What dark secrets lie beyond those pixel walls? if you were to escape the cities, the routes, reach the deep parts of the world no one else had ever reached -- what would you uncover? That can be an interesting question, and it's one I've had in mind while building every corner of Monster Crown. Those willing to explore, to try unusual things, to let their imagination run amok -- they'll have plenty to discover in Monster Crown. Dark games like Shin Megami Tensei also greatly inspired me to develop the tone we're looking for in Monster Crown.

EM:  How many monsters will be in Monster Crown, and do you have a favorite?

JW: There will be 200 base monsters in Monster Crown. Each one has various genetic variations, and as you can see in the trailer, many will have totally unique transformations when a specific item is used on them -- the Atomic Clock on Dracoyle ages him. The Antifungal on Laz turns him back into his original form. For those completionists out there, I know where you're coming from. I have an urge to collect all the monsters too -- you'll have your hands quite full with Monster Crown, and I'm not talking about things like palette swaps. Personally, my favorite isn't revealed yet -- it's Tanukrook. My teammate Shad seems to have channeled something straight out of that nightmare I mentioned earlier.

EM: Palette swaps do seem to be a common problem in monster-raising RPGs outside of Pokemon. Was it difficult to avoid palette swaps when creating monsters, or was it a goal since the game's inception?

JW: Great question. Because our base idea was that the breeding system creates true crossbreeds, we knew right away that palettes were going to be a vital part of that system. Before we added genetic variations, we still knew the form would be based on the father, and the palette the mother. In that sort of system, a wild palette swap isn't too appealing -- you could just breed your monster to be whatever color you wished. 

So inherently they wouldn't be valuable to Tamers. Things like near-palette swaps, like the battle hammer-wielding variant of the Battle Rex (pictured above) in Dragon Warrior Monsters Joker can be SO cool! And originally we thought genetic variations could be slight changes, but ultimately we wanted to go all the way on our breeding mechanic, put all our chips down. For that reason, every monster sprite is handcrafted from scratch, including all variations.

EM: So you mentioned breeding, but Monster Crown also has a separate fusion mechanic. How do these mechanics differ, and why were both included?

JW: So we knew right off the bat that all sorts of people play monster-catching games. Some love very in-depth, thorough mechanics with a lot of control. They hate things like RNG -- these are the Monster Scientists! I love what they manage to pull off and accomplish. But there is another group that enjoys more casual play. They like when things flow along smoothly and quickly. So with both of these people in mind, we knew we had to include a way to control the pace of the game to suit your individual tastes.

Personally I'm a bit of a Scientist -- I love the breeding system. You get so much control, you get to keep both parents, but your offspring monster starts as a baby -- you have to raise it up!

But Fusion exists for people that don't want to wait around to hatch eggs, they don't want to level up a baby to meet their mid-game team's level, and they don't mind losing the parents. For that reason, we added the fusion mechanic, letting people choose how rushed they are, how methodical they want to be. Whenever we can, we give options so people can play the game the way they enjoy most.

EM: In addition to breeding and fusion, to obtain wild monsters the player can offer them contracts. Why was this the chosen method rather than favorite food or another alternative?

JW: Monsters in our world share the temperament of a wild beast, but they are a little wiser. Offering a legal contract to a ,onster is pretty funny, but when you think about it,  why does a wild beast want to join you? What do you have to offer? Monsters don't care to be your friends, and they don't like you very much. Offering a contract is a symbolic gesture; it means "Come with me, help me pursue my goals, and I will train you, and one day return you to your environment infinitely stronger than you stand today." These monsters are playing the long game. They may struggle in their environment, but a promise to one day be the alpha, well, that's exactly what they're after. For this reason, there's an entire city on Crown Island, Appenton, where young hopefuls study and perfect the art of writing contracts that are viable to both human and monster, and easily understood.

 EM: It can be assumed that monsters will be of different types and have strengths and weaknesses to others. What are some of these monster types, and how do they differ from the types we've seen in other games?

JW: Our types are closer to personalities than physical types. This is quite a departure from other games in the genre. The types are Vicious, the blood thirsty sadists; the Brutes, which wield huge physical strength and act fairly arrogantly; the Will types, which are like calm, sturdy tanks; the Relentless, ones that refuse to quit with high endurance; and finally, the Unstable, the ones about to fall apart at the seams that act erratically. When you breed a Brute with Laz, you get a Laz that is bursting at the seams with strength. When you breed a Vicious type with a Teedon, you get one that looks like it might try to stab you in the back. Because of this, we're able to design each monster as if it is bursting at the seams with its personality.

EM: The stockpiling mechanic encourages players to switch monsters of the same type in order to create a chain and boost the strength of their following attacks. What helped influence this idea?

JW: Well, in other games you can switch to another monster in your party. It takes time, you often take a hit, but you weigh the cost to the benefits of getting a type advantage.We wanted to expand on that, and we really start thinking of it from an outside perspective. How does it work? How do you switch the monster? We started trying to imagine it if we were tamers in-universe. Now if you recall, our monsters are very wild and mean -- taming them to the degree that they obey direct, specific, and prompt commands to swap mid battle would take a high level of mastery over these wild beasts. They'd make a Lion Tamer look like a joke! So having this high level of team synergy builds energy, and it's unleashed when you finally do attack. Of course, if you mess up, you can lose all your built-up stockpile without getting to use its power. Depending on the level of stockpile you've built, you'll gain buffs or inflict debuffs. Depending on the foe, a building 2 stockpile before attack might be just what the doctor ordered. Against another, you might find that if you can't hit a full stockpile gauge, it's not worth it against this particular enemy. It'll always be risk-reward, and we're looking forward to the mind games people play against each other in online battling as well. Also, there is a secret additional stockpile level you can unlock as you play through the game. Anyone with the skill to reach that level may be rewarded ... in "transformative" ways....

EM: Last question, is there some time we can expect a possible release date or release window, and will it be exclusive to PC?

JW: Well, we're launching a Kickstarter on April 10th, so we'll have a clearer picture then, but as of right now, we're shooting for a February 2019 release. Of course we're going to work hard to try to get it out even sooner. We do want to leave plenty of time for very thorough testing of both the game and the online battling and trading. It will launch on PC, Android, and iOS. I'm also going to do everything in my power to get it on the Switch and Vita, but that involves other parties as well, so I'm not able to promise anything at this moment.

I thanked Jason for taking the time out of his day to chat with me. Monster Crown is currently in development. An early demo of the game, Crowns Frostbite, is available for download on PC. You can follow Jason on Twitter as well as the Monster Crown Twitter, Facebook, subreddit, and website.

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Hands on With SMITE's New Adventure: Da Ji and the Legend of the Foxes https://www.gameskinny.com/sjrmb/hands-on-with-smites-new-adventure-da-ji-and-the-legend-of-the-foxes https://www.gameskinny.com/sjrmb/hands-on-with-smites-new-adventure-da-ji-and-the-legend-of-the-foxes Wed, 07 Feb 2018 15:45:01 -0500 Wizard of Warsaw

With Season Five of SMITE having started already, hype for the game is once again rising. To meet that, Hi-Rez Studios has today released a brand-new adventure mode titled "Da Ji and the Legend of the Foxes". Visiting the studio earlier this week, we were able to get a hands-on preview of the new adventure. Here's what we learned. 

New Modes for New Adventures

With the new Senpai Da Ji skin making an appearance in this adventure, the event draws heavily on anime and its tropes. The highly stylized adventure feels almost like a completely different experience, especially when compared to other SMITE offerings. With colorful graphics and Da Ji's implacable attitude, players might feel like they've stepped into SMITE's very own anime.  

Nonetheless, the newest SMITE adventure focuses on a "horde mode" style of gameplay, where players must stay alive while defending Da Ji's fox from multiple waves of minions.  

Interspersed through the rampant slaughter of minions are larger (and more dangerous) enemies. These monsters have special abilities and methods of attack, such as pulling players away from the objective, summoning more powerful minions, and even lobbing in fireballs from far away. Each of these monsters is designed to provide a different set of challenges, ultimately forcing players to respond in unique ways, lest they find themselves without the health or numbers to continue the defense. 

Finally, after a few intense rounds of fighting, players are given one last chance to buy whatever items they can afford before the final fight. When the fight begins, they are pitted against a trio of powerful enemies that include a large monster boss and two other gods. Successfully defeating these final enemies will grant the player a chest where they can potentially find a new Ratatoskr skin (there are four up for grabs in the adventure). 

Fans of the previous season of SMITE's adventures will see the return of the "Gold Vault", which holds a variety of skins that will be released as the adventures progress, with each skin requiring a golden key to unlock. Golden keys are gained by purchasing bundles associated with the current adventure, but once obtained, they can be used to unlock specific skins from the Gold Vault. With two Gold Vaults, though, there are now two different types of keys differentiated by what year their corresponding vault was created. 

According to Hi-Rez, every adventure will be randomized, with each bossfight providing something completely different from the last. New enemies will need to be defeated, and new patches throughout the life of the adventure will add new big bads to defeat. 

---

This is only the first of many exciting adventures and releases from Hi-Rez this year. We've already seen brand-new art and gameplay changes drop in recent updates, as well as the new playable god Cerberus. On top of that, the studio also unveiled at HRX 2018 that we would also be getting two new pantheons this year: Slavic and Voodoo. All in all, Season 5 of SMITE looks to be one of the best Seasons to date -- especially if you're looking from a little break from the typical Conquest grind. 

Da Ji and the Legend of the Foxes will be available for PC players starting Tuesday, February 13, and console players starting Friday, February 16. The new adventure will be free, although players will have the option to purchase the Senpai bundle, which will contain the Da Ji Senpai skin and other items for in-game use. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on SMITE and Season 5 as it develops. 

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5 Gaming Consoles That Took a Hard Fall https://www.gameskinny.com/db120/5-gaming-consoles-that-took-a-hard-fall https://www.gameskinny.com/db120/5-gaming-consoles-that-took-a-hard-fall Tue, 06 Feb 2018 14:21:47 -0500 Spongehoe

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Gizmondo 

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Finally a handheld for the list. The Gizmondo was probably among the most nightmarish (and dramatic) of the mentioned console failures. 

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In 2005, Tiger Telematics released the monochromatic handheld, meant to run hit games, send messages, use GPS services, and even play digital videos. Investors and developers were excited to get on board. Originally, the company had wanted to focus on GPS devices and safety pagers for children. This inspired a mixture of the gaming device and the GPS system, otherwise known as the infamous Gizmondo.

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Unfortunately, however, the Swedish company went bankrupt at 189 million British pounds due to ridiculously high debts and even some shady criminal involvement. An illegal Ferrari carrying a convict crashed, the driver disappearing promptly thereafter. Suffice to say that people were arrested, lawsuits went down, and the console flopped big time.

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The Gizmondo was ahead of its time with era-appropriate graphics, and it was considered a valuable purchase for most. It was also multi-functional. That said, it also had terrible gaming options and was cosmetically unappealing for the ridiculous price that it was sold for. In spite of its originality, the console moved sluggishly along the market, selling poorly enough without the criminal backdrop.

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---

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While there have been many more console fails throughout history, these were some of the biggest splashes made by companies that left a genuine lesson to be learned by future developers. Some companies flourished despite their failures, and others slipped into the dark, never to be heard from again.

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What are some consoles you think deserve to be on the list? Comment below and stick with GameSkinny for more great content!

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Philips CD-I

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Possibly the most deeply hated console in history, the Philips Compact Disc Interactive (CD-I) was an iconic fail almost from the moment it hit the market. It was ridiculously expensive, with poor graphics set upon beloved game franchises, such as Mario and Zelda. 

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This seemed to enrage gamers, as the console was more of a video/CD player than anything else. The name of the Philips CD-I was tainted forever and still haunts the internet to this day.

"},{"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/7/5/5/755a71f8dedca32.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/7/5/5/755a71f8dedca32.jpg","type":"slide","id":"178575","description":"

Nintendo Wii U

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Nobody's surprised that the Wii U made it to the list. Nintendo, thankfully, made up for this 2012 mess with the success of the Switch. This expensive console was built originally to invite more hardcore gamers to the table, in contrast with its predecessor, the family-friendly Wii. Unfortunately, however, that was not to be the case.

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Compared to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the console couldn't deliver good, solid software for users to enjoy, either. The concept was also highly confusing for users, as it was a cross between an accessory for the original Wii and a tablet. Like the Dreamcast, this one was born at a very bad time and was kicked to the curb with only 13 million units sold, compared to the whopping 101 million the Wii cashed in. 

"},{"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/e/6/9e6b08489d08136748316d2de9a1219a-4748b.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/e/6/9e6b08489d08136748316d2de9a1219a-4748b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"178573","description":"

Sega Dreamcast

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Sega's 1999 Dreamcast is definitely a memorable one. It had a great line of games, decent graphics, and fairly good software to boot. The only reasons this bad boy was a failure were that it was born at the wrong place at the wrong time, it was sadly impotent compared to the PlayStation 2 and the very first Xbox, and it emerged during an economic crisis in Japan.

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In fact, the Dreamcast was the last of Sega's consoles. Having sold less than the Saturn, the company lost heart and discontinued producing gaming hardware shortly after its demise.

"},{"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/4/7/2/472px-virtual-boy-set-081e8.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/4/7/2/472px-virtual-boy-set-081e8.jpg","type":"slide","id":"178572","description":"

Nintendo Virtual Boy

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The Nintendo Virtual Boy was revolutionary for its time. Released in 1995, it caused a hype across the nation upon release. But perhaps Nintendo was far too ahead of themselves with this one, as it was nothing but a dull, psychedelic migraine. The Virtual Boy was ergonomically inefficient, causing headaches, eye strain, and overall discomfort to gamers.

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The selection of classic games was great, to be fair, but something of a horror story to look at. Not to mention the fact that the Virtual Boy displayed petty 3D graphics in a GameBoy-esque fashion.

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Production ended very soon after release, and only about 800,000 of these were sold. Obviously, Nintendo never made such a ridiculously far-fetched experiment (or rather, giant mistake) like this again. 

"},{"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/games-2453777-960-720-d2384.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/games-2453777-960-720-d2384.jpg","type":"slide","id":"178571","description":"

One can't taste success without tasting failure, and the same can be said for companies and developers everywhere. What we see today lining the shelves in appealing boxing and being sold at light speed is nothing more than a product of hard work and endless remastering to avoid repeating mistakes of the past. Suffice it to say that a majority of consoles released in the past 50 years have taken quite a beating, and some never even made it to your local Best Buy. 

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Here are five of the biggest flops in gaming history, and why they made the list.

"}]]]>
Can your PC Run FFXV? Here's How You Find Out https://www.gameskinny.com/qhay3/can-your-pc-run-ffxv-heres-how-you-find-out https://www.gameskinny.com/qhay3/can-your-pc-run-ffxv-heres-how-you-find-out Sat, 03 Feb 2018 07:26:46 -0500 Spongehoe

As the PC community ardently awaits the arrival of the Final Fantasy XV on Windows in March, some are wondering if they can run the JRPG on the gaming rig. 

To help those gamers out, Square Enix has released a free benchmark tool to help assess PC performance -- and playable viability -- by displaying sample scenarios and characters during a six-minute test. The tool will also assist in optimizing systems well before the game's arrival.

After the test, it will produce a score (noted in the link) to help determine if your system can withstand the grandeur of FFXV on PC.

Bear in mind that the benchmark is NOT a demo of the game. 

The game will be 4K, 8K, HDR10 and Dolby Atmos compatible, and requires a graphics card supporting DirectX11 on a 64-bit Windows 7/8.1/10 as a minimum requirement at most. Check the NVIDIA website for more details on system compatibility. 

FFXV is available now for pre-order. The game will come complete with all the DLC's found on PS4 and Xbox One, along with additional events, expansions, quests, and mod support (in the future).

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on Final Fantasy 15 for PC as it develops. 

 

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Travel Frog's 12 Most Rare Picture Souvenirs https://www.gameskinny.com/r97on/travel-frogs-12-most-rare-picture-souvenirs https://www.gameskinny.com/r97on/travel-frogs-12-most-rare-picture-souvenirs Tue, 30 Jan 2018 20:17:56 -0500 Ashley Gill

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Last but certainly not least is the frog once more seeking directions, this time from a group of toads.

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This is one of only two rare pictures that feature the frog's crab friend, who seems to be more than a little outnumbered by amphibians here.

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This wraps up the 12 ultra-rare pictures you can receive in Travel Frog. Hopefully more will be added in later updates, because these are just too cute not to have more of.

"},{"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/frog-moths-d9597.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/frog-moths-d9597.png","type":"slide","id":"178522","description":"

I don't think anyone would expect a moth, butterfly, and frog to cooperate, but anything seems to be possible in Travel Frog. Who knows where the frog is headed to here, but it's got to be more relaxing than having to walk there.

"},{"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/frog-snail-newt-ladybug-81683.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/frog-snail-newt-ladybug-81683.png","type":"slide","id":"178523","description":"

Okay, this one is definitely my personal favorite. The frog seems to be waiting for a ride on the newt, who already has two passengers. Will he be able to fit along with the other two? I certainly like to imagine so.

"},{"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/frog-moth-butterfly-99b90.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/frog-moth-butterfly-99b90.png","type":"slide","id":"178521","description":"

These have to be butterflies, right? Yeah, they have to be.

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Just seems to be a day in the life for a butterfly!

"},{"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/frog-asking-directions-7f34a.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/frog-asking-directions-7f34a.png","type":"slide","id":"178518","description":"

This is probably one of the most obvious pictures in this set, and it is yet another one of my personal favorites. It seems even the most well-traveled frogs need a little help sometimes.

"},{"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/u/t/nut-salesman-a3e9e.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/u/t/nut-salesman-a3e9e.png","type":"slide","id":"178520","description":"

The mouse seems to have a certain penchant for nuts. It is a mouse, after all. This time it looks to be trying to get some walnuts from a squirrel-run market.

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This is the third type of nut featured in Travel Frog. The others are acorns (as seen in a previous picture) and chestnuts, which your frog sometimes brings home as a souvenir. At least the mouse eats 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/f/r/o/frog-mouse-nuts-902f0.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/frog-mouse-nuts-902f0.png","type":"slide","id":"178519","description":"

Is that your frog and its mouse friend harvesting some acorns? Why yes, yes it 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/f/r/o/frog-flower-shop-20c5c.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/frog-flower-shop-20c5c.png","type":"slide","id":"178515","description":"

This is one of my favorites, easily! The lighter butterfly is selling flowers, with loads of ants lined up ready to buy.

"},{"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/frog-mice-directions-c0f3e.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/frog-mice-directions-c0f3e.png","type":"slide","id":"178511","description":"

You see the frog with the mouse on the left in a lot of pictures, which makes me think the frog and mouse are pretty good friends. They certainly do seem to travel together often!

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The larger mouse seems like a little adventurer itself, but it may also be a cartographer. It seems to have quite a few supplies on-hand.

"},{"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/frog-writing-82c38.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/frog-writing-82c38.png","type":"slide","id":"178510","description":"

This one is a bit confusing at first, but it appears to be trying out a feather pen in a shop in this picture. With what looks to be prices written on the barrel of feathers and the fabric on the other side of the shop. Is your frog drawing his own maps on his travels? It's definitely possible.

"},{"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/frog-ants-a2915.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/frog-ants-a2915.png","type":"slide","id":"178507","description":"

A family of ants traveling by river? Well, we may not see it but there's no saying a frog wouldn't.

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This seems to be one of many events your frog bears witness to on his travels across Japan.

"},{"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/frog-crab-mantis-d31f8.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/frog-crab-mantis-d31f8.png","type":"slide","id":"178474","description":"

There are around 120 total pictures your friendly neighborhood frog can bring back home in Travel Frog. A large portion of these pictures are not entirely unique, but there are a handful of totally unique pictures your frog can bring back that are just as rare as they are adorable.

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The requirements for rare pictures on Travel Frog are a mystery. After having tested several different combinations of food, amulets, and tools over the past few weeks I haven't been able to pinpoint any exact way to get these pictures -- for the time being, you should just be happy you get them at all!

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Are you ready to see the absolute cutest pictures your frog can bring back home? Well, you've already seen one! The above image is one of the twelve rare pictures we're about to get an eyeful of. How can you resist taking a peek at your frog's adventures?

"}]]]>
9 Games That Will Satisfy Your Inner Collectaholic https://www.gameskinny.com/n2e12/9-games-that-will-satisfy-your-inner-collectaholic https://www.gameskinny.com/n2e12/9-games-that-will-satisfy-your-inner-collectaholic Fri, 26 Jan 2018 11:42:26 -0500 Andrew Krajewski

From coins to rocks to toys, people have enjoyed collecting things for hundreds of years. It only makes sense that such a time-honored hobby would make its way into video games in the form of collectathons. In these games, the player must typically collect a certain amount of objects in order to progress. Collectathons are great for almost everyone because of their easy-to-understand goals and fun, explorable worlds. If you’re looking to dive into the genre for the first time, or you're a completionist looking for your next fix, here are nine games, both retro and modern, that are sure to satisfy your inner collectaholic.

Super Mario Odyssey

Mario slinging Cappy in Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario 64 was arguably the first great collectathon, and 3D Mario games have continued that legacy. The latest installment in the franchise, Super Mario Odyssey is a fantastic collectathon. While you only need a fraction of the available power moons to finish the game, there are 999 moons for players to collect if they want to go all out. This title is a masterpiece with addictive gameplay and innovative level design, and it's sure to delight just about anybody.

Snake Pass

Exploring the world in Snake Pass

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a snake? Me neither, but that shouldn't stop you from trying out Snake Pass! Most collectathons are straightforward 3D platformers, but the platforming in Snake Pass is what makes it stand out. You'll have to learn how to slither like a proper snake if you want to gather the gate gems necessary to progress further.

Assassin's Creed: Origins

Bayek scaling a pyramid in AC:O

I said most collectathons are 3D platformers, but the Assassin's Creed franchise doesn't exactly fit that definition. That doesn't stop Ubisoft from cramming as many collectibles as possible into these games. While the games are notorious for the sheer number of locations, treasure chests, and materials to collect, Assassins Creed: Origins did a good job filling out the huge world with collectibles without making it feel overwhelming and unachievable. I also recommend checking out Assassin's Creed: Black Flag if you want to challenge yourself and collect some delightful sea shanties.

Banjo-Kazooie

Box art from Banjo-Kazooie

If you're a collectaholic, then you must have played Banjo-Kazooie. It's a classic for a reason and worth revisiting for nostalgia if nothing else. For those of you who don't want to break out the ole N64, you're in luck! You can get Banjo-KazooieBanjo-Tooie, and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts as part of Rare Replay for Xbox One. You'll definitely be able to get your fill of Jiggies, Jinjos, and musical notes!

Yooka-Laylee

Screenshot of Yooka-Laylee

A spiritual successor to Banjo-KazooieYooka-Laylee brings the same gameplay from the '90s into the world of today. Developed by Playtonic Games (former Rare employees and key developers of the Banjo series), Yooka-Laylee doesn't miss a beat when it comes to replicating the Banjo-Kazooie feeling. If you want to share some of your favorite childhood experiences with your kids, or if you want to feel nostalgia from a newer game, then this is the game for you.

Ratchet & Clank

Screenshot from Ratchet and Clank

Insomniac Games revived this well-regarded series in 2016 to go along with the movie that came out at the same time. While the movie flopped, the game is a ton of fun, and there are plenty of Gold Bolts, Holocards, and Raritanium to gather while you progress through the game with all of your crazy weapons. Ratchet & Clank also has fantastic gameplay and a wonderful aesthetic.

A Hat in Time

Image from A Hat in Time

A Hat in Time doubled its Kickstarter goal in two days and was highly anticipated when it released on PC in October 2017 and on console in December of 2017. The collecting in this indie game is highly rewarding, as different collectibles offer new abilities, new levels, and new cosmetics to the player.

Stardew Valley

Autumn in Stardew Valley

Now I know what you're thinking about this: "How the heck is a farming sim/rpg/sandbox game inspired by Harvest Moon a collectathon?" Stick with me here, this charming little game has a ton of stuff you can "collect." The community center in Stardew Valley offers multiples "bundles" which require the player to collect specific items for rewards. In addition to those bundles, the player can try to catch every fish, grow every crop, cook every recipe, become friends with everyone in town, and collect tons of monster drops. There's even an achievement/trophy that challenges players to ship one of every single item in the game. There is plenty to do in this indie darling that will satisfy the collectors out there.

Donkey Kong 64

box art for DK64

The big kahuna. When this game came out, it was one of the biggest collectathons ever made. Today, Donkey Kong 64 is blamed as the game that ruined the genre, but I cannot disagree more. While the collecting nature of the game may be a little repetitive for modern gamers, DK64 accomplished what it set out to do. If you want a game where you collect things, then this is the game to do it. Whether it's bananas or colored coins, you'll enjoy silly characters and decent platforming puzzles to keep you occupied. I'd also be remiss not to mention the fantastically cheesy DK Rap.

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Are you a collectaholic? What kind of collectibles are your favorite? Did your favorite collectathon not make the list? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to stick around GameSkinny for other great gaming articles like 10 Pokemon That Should Have Never Existed or Top 12 Greatest Cats of Video Games

 

 

 

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An Interview with the Creative Minds Behind Half-Life: A Place in the West https://www.gameskinny.com/e1s5l/an-interview-with-the-creative-minds-behind-half-life-a-place-in-the-west https://www.gameskinny.com/e1s5l/an-interview-with-the-creative-minds-behind-half-life-a-place-in-the-west Thu, 25 Jan 2018 13:21:58 -0500 Sarah Elliman

Half-Life is a gaming series known and loved by many; the immense popularity of the original game has made Valve what it is today. Even in 2008, the various installments in the series had sold just under 18.4 million units; the sales the series must have achieved by now must be astronomical. It is the intricate world, interesting characters, and various narrative possibilities that have drawn fans back to the franchise time and time again. Sadly, there hasn’t been a third installment to satiate the desire for more content, and the 10-year gap from the release of Half-Life 2 could suggest there never will be. Luckily, mod and comic book creators Ross Gardner and Micheal Pelletier have bought life back into the series with their episodic comic book Half-Life: A Place in the West.

Half-Life: A Place in the West is set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2 on alien-occupied Earth, and it follows three characters who are all drawn to a decrepit American town called New Franklin. The protagonists are searching for a group of missing children when they stumble upon a retinue of freedom fighters who seek to reclaim their land. A simple twist of fate connects the fighters with the missing children, and the tale unfolds from there.

The comic has received heaps of praise from fans, as the comic stays true to the atmosphere and content of the games while telling a different story entirely. The overwhelming success of Half-Life: A Place in the West has been incredibly unforeseen, but it's an exciting prospect for both fans and those involved in the project. At GameSkinny, we have been given access to the brilliant minds behind the comic and their inner thoughts on their marvelous creation. 

GameSkinny: What are your backgrounds, and how has that enabled you to create the comic?

Ross Gardner & Micheal Pelletier: Our backgrounds are sort of all over the place. Making a comic is something we’d wanted to do for a very long, long time.

It’s been an amazing learning experience, and I’m not sure there’s a lot that really could prepare you for it. 

GS: What inspired you to create the comic?

RG & MP: We were inspired by both the bizarre science-fiction universe Valve created and our love of comics … We wanted to tell a story outside the confines of the game and introduce new perspectives on the traditional Half-Life archetypes. 

GS: What made you put it into comic form?

RG & MP: In developing our story, we found Half-Life naturally lent itself to the comic book medium, and whatever we envisioned, whatever we imagined we could do. The vast imagery of Half-Life was open to us, and A Place in the West presented an opportunity to present it in fresh and exciting ways. Hopefully we’ve done that.

 

 GS: The comic has been praised by many as being able to capture the Half-Life universe to its fullest. What do you think allowed you to create a story that is so true to the original content?

RG & MP: We’ve more focused on being true to the themes rather than any actual events, and I think that resonates with our readers. I think the key to making it feel true to the world is about not capturing the events of previous tellings, but capturing how those moments made you feel.

GS: Although not being a property of Valve, the comic has been an incredible success thus far and is continuing to grow. What do you think draws people to the comic?

RG & MP: [We've] stepped aside from the main narrative of the game to focus on different aspects of it … I think the reason that people are interested in it is the same reason that we were drawn to creating it. Half-Life presents an enormous and fascinating world and explores small facets of it.

GS: Where do you see the comic going? Can you envision the future and direction you want to take the comic in?

RG & MP: We have a total of 13 chapters planned, the last of which will bring the story to a definitive conclusion. The story was planned out from beginning to end before we started production on the first chapter, so we’ve always known our endpoint, even if certain arcs and plot beats have necessarily taken different forms along the way. Our main goal is just to keep getting better at this comics thing. We’ve never done anything like this before, and we learn so much with each subsequent chapter. From where we’re sitting, there’s a clear uptake in quality with each release, and we want to keep going on that trajectory.

 


Half-Life: A Place in the West is truly a magnificent comic that captures the essence of the series perfectly. If you haven’t already, check out the first chapter here. It’s entirely free, and subsequent episodes are only $1.99. If you would like more information about the project, you can also visit the Half-Life: A Place in the West website.

Are you interested in reading the comic? What have you thought of it so far if you already have? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Staxel Early Access Impressions: Village Life for the Restless https://www.gameskinny.com/r1cs6/staxel-early-access-impressions-village-life-for-the-restless https://www.gameskinny.com/r1cs6/staxel-early-access-impressions-village-life-for-the-restless Wed, 24 Jan 2018 10:24:28 -0500 Littoface

If you're a fan of world-building games, you may want to add Staxel to your watch list. Created by indie dev Plukit and published by Humble Bundle, this cute little voxel game is currently in Early Access, and though it still feels rough around the edges, it has the promise to become a great addition to anyone who loves creating a little digital world of their own.

Staxel is a sandbox farming/world-building indie game with a visually appealing style and unobtrusive and pleasing music. More importantly, it is loaded with plenty of content and a large, procedurally generated world to explore. Comparisons to other dig-and-build games are inevitable, so let's get them out of the way right off the bat: At a glance, Staxel looks like a 3D version of Terraria; after some time playing, it becomes clear that the game plays more like a mix of Minecraft and Harvest Moon.

Like Minecraft and Harvest Moon, there are elements of farming, building, raising animals, fishing, bug catching and so much more. Unlike other games like it, though, Staxel doesn't push you to do any of those things. There are no enemies, and the mechanics will feel familiar to anyone who's played any other farming sim or world builder, featuring first-person exploration and an inventory with hotkeys you can cycle through with the mouse wheel. The tutorial offers a very basic introduction, and further (optional) quests guide you through the mechanics of game aspects such as building and keeping (adorable!) farm animals.

Besides this guidance, though, players are free to play the game however they want. As soon as you start the game, you can follow the quest line, or you can completely disregard it, buy yourself a net, and go bug hunting. You can destroy the entire village and rebuild it from scratch. You can go exploring in the vast and varied landscape beyond your farm. You can delve into the building and cooking, spending all your play time searching for ingredients or materials. You can use your farmland for growing crops, or you can grab a shovel and dig straight down, just because. There are no penalties for forgetting to feed your cat or forgetting to sleep, or even for ending the in-game day in the middle of nowhere.

This all means that, at least at this moment, there is no wrong way to play Staxel. This is both the game's strength and its weakness. On one hand, the freedom to play however you want feels fantastic. Other world-building games like Minecraft and Terraria generate a sense of urgency through combat, while the day-night and season cycles of farming-focused games like Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon mean you spend half of every in-game day watering and harvesting your crops (a stamina system further limits your ability to play indefinitely). In Staxel, however, there is no direction whatsoever, which means players can do whatever they want without having to work around a time limit and without being pushed to complete routine tasks.

On the other hand, this lack of direction makes Staxel feel extremely overwhelming from the get-go. There is a huge amount of items available for sale at the various shops right from the start (the villagers also don't seem to mind if you gouge huge holes in their homes to steal materials and furniture). The ability to do anything you want also comes with a critical downside: the lack of incentive to do anything at all. Why should you make money when you can just hijack whatever you want instead of buying it? Why bother buying pet food if nothing happens to your pet when you forget to feed him? An item catalog makes things like achievements even more trivial: no need to go searching for bugs, just place an order for whatever bug you're missing and have it delivered to you. Ding! Achievement unlocked. Don't you feel accomplished?

Of course, it bears repeating that Staxel is currently still in Early Access, which means it is still undergoing changes. Plukit has created a stylish little game with tons of freedom, quirky villagers, and a pretty appealing combination of exploration, creation, and farming. An online multiplayer right from the beginning is another thing the game has going for it, since creating things is always more fun with friends. Now it's up to the developers to find the right balance between freedom and direction. For now, Staxel is a gem in the rough with heart; hopefully it will emerge from Early Access in a more polished form. 

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Video Game Canon: Developing YOUR Canon https://www.gameskinny.com/bqevf/video-game-canon-developing-your-canon https://www.gameskinny.com/bqevf/video-game-canon-developing-your-canon Tue, 23 Jan 2018 12:17:35 -0500 Allison M Reilly

Previously, when I explored the idea of video game canon, I specifically looked at how to count games toward canon and how the definition of video game canon may change over time. With new titles coming out every day, determining which games count toward which canon(s) is already difficult. It's also equally tough, maybe more so, to develop your personal repertoire of games.

Developing your personal repertoire takes much more than owning a lot of games or having familiarity with different games and genres. To develop your canon, you have to play the games, much like building your literary canon requires you to read the books (SparkNotes will only take you so far). I'm sure you know how to play games, but playing video games as a way to build your canon takes some strategy and foresight.

Try Lesser-Known Games, Both Old and New

There are plenty of awesome games, from both major and indie developers, that don't have the same size fan bases as Hearthstone, Bloodborne, Cuphead, Minecraft, etc. The awesome, popular games are worth playing and adding to your repertoire, but lesser-known games are able to take you beyond your comfort zone and expand your gaming knowledge.

For example, I reviewed a game called Where the Money Is for GameSkinny a few months ago. Where the Money Is is an action-strategy game where the player controls robbers in the middle of a bank heist. I had never heard of the game before the review, and it's not a game I would normally choose to play on my own. But, spending a few hours playing Where the Money Is expanded my canon in a very specific way: themes. This game involves topics like robbery, security, and law enforcement. Playing Where the Money Is provides insight on these topics that I can draw upon if I were to play games revolving around similar topics (e.g., L.A. Noire, PayDay 2).

Overall, one of the best ways to develop your video game canon is to play titles that otherwise would not end up on your radar.

Take the Time to Discover New Games

Whether the game is popular or not, discovering new games to put on your radar is important for developing your canon over a long period of time. Discovering new games is much more than paying attention to what's coming next week or next month, but watching what other games are being played and talked about.

For example, I was watching one of my favorite Twitch streamers play an early access Steam title called Slay the Spire. He said he was addicted to this game, finding so much joy in it that he believes the developers aren't charging enough for the game. To this streamer, Slay the Spire is so good that Mega Crit Games ought to raise the price once they take it out of early access.

Slay the Spire is a rogue-like strategy game where the player builds a deck as they play. The deck is used during combat, and with each successful battle, the player adds to their deck and improves it. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but Slay the Spire does remind me of Guild of Dungeoneering, Hand of Fate, and Hand of Fate 2, all three of which I have played extensively. There's also a bit of Duelyst in there too. Ultimately, Slay the Spire would build my repertoire of rogue-like deckbuilding games. It would be great to see personally how it compares to the other games I've played.

Revisit Games from Your Childhood

So far, I've only discussed playing video games that are new to you -- games you've never played before. But, revisiting titles from your childhood and replaying those you haven't touched in a good long while can build your canon by helping you make connections you couldn't have way back when.

Altered Beast for Sega Genesis is a game I vaguely remember playing. I have distinct memories of watching my older brothers play the game. Nonetheless, playing that game as a kid and playing that game as an adult were two completely different experiences.

As a kid, Altered Beast was an awesome beat 'em up platformer where the player "powered up" into fantastic creatures. It's a fun game. As an adult, I can't help but notice that Altered Beast is one of the few games where the male protagonist has less and less clothing as he powers up. The story of resurrecting the main character to save Zeus' daughter is also a little bizarre. Who am I to rescue your daughter? I was busy being dead!

Anyway, as gaming continues to progress graphically, technologically, and culturally, keeping up with everything is impossible. But not every game is going to be worth playing. Instead, exploring how I can develop my personal video game canon and cultural understanding of games is much more exciting.

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Gone Rogue: 7 Developers Who Left AAA to Create Their Own Games https://www.gameskinny.com/biuyf/gone-rogue-7-developers-who-left-aaa-to-create-their-own-games https://www.gameskinny.com/biuyf/gone-rogue-7-developers-who-left-aaa-to-create-their-own-games Mon, 22 Jan 2018 14:14:36 -0500 Allison M Reilly

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A career in game development doesn't have to start with indie games and move up toward the AAA games. It can go the other way around, or touch upon a little bit of every type of game. These seven developers show that if you have the drive and the talent, you can make any type of game you want. 

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David Goldfarb

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Goldfarb is best known as game director for Payday 2 and lead designer for Battlefield 3. He announced in 2014 he was leaving Overkill Software. He founded indie development studio The Outsiders, which is currently working on Project Wight, an action-adventure taking place in an alternative history. In Project Wight, players will play as creatures who are being decimated out of existence by humans. The creatures crawl on all fours, have the ability to soar through the air, and fight with teeth and claws. The game doesn't have a release date yet but is slated for a PC-first release.

"},{"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/a/w/lawbreakers-65454.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/a/w/lawbreakers-65454.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177776","description":"

Cliff Bleszinski

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Bleszinski spent two decades at Epic Games, serving as design director for Gears of War. Bleszinski is also one of the few video game designers who've been profiled by The New Yorker and has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. He's primarily known for his work on one game, but incredible work on an even more incredible game.

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Nonetheless, he left all that to start Boss Key Productions and launch LawBreakers, a multiplayer first-person shooter. Though the game opened with positive reviews, the title is currently suffering from a lack of active players.

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LawBreakers is available on Steam for $29.99.

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Mike Tipul

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Tipul was one of many developers at Bungie who worked on Destiny to make the switch to indie games. His indie title from Marauder Interactive, House of the Dying Sun, is a tactical space shooter with VR capabilities. The game was long in the making, first showcased in 2012 before it was finally released in November 2016.

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House of the Dying Sun is available on Steam for $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/o/p/e/open-bar-game-8ba67.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/p/e/open-bar-game-8ba67.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177774","description":"

Maxime Beaudoin

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Beaudoin was a software architect for Ubisoft who worked on games big and small, including Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Surf's Up, and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. He called it quits and in 2015 founded indie developer Gingear Studio with his girlfriend, Julie Lortie-Pelletier. Gingear has one mobile title to its name, a cocktail-themed puzzler called Open Bar. Beaudoin explained in a 2016 blog post why he left Ubisoft and finally made the leap to indie game development.

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Open Bar is available on both the App Store for $2.99 and Google Play for free.

"},{"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/m/dominations-indie-mobile-0c5e2.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/m/dominations-indie-mobile-0c5e2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177773","description":"

Brian Reynolds

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Reynolds has worked on several great titles during his career. Civilization II, Alpha Centauri, Rise of Nations, and Frontierville are among them. After leaving Zynga in 2013, he revived Big Huge Games (which developed Rise of Nations) as SecretNewCo to create the mobile combat strategy game DomiNations. SecretNewCo took the Big Huge Games name back in 2013, when the state of Rhode Island auctioned off the rights. Big Huge Games was acquired by South Korean game developer Nexon in 2016.

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DomiNations is free to play on both the App Store and Google Play.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/926083f86e75a56d1b4ca863cfe6d8a3.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/926083f86e75a56d1b4ca863cfe6d8a3.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11813","description":"

Evan Rogers

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Rogers, the chief gameplay programmer of What Remains of Edith Finch, has been hard at work on a new game called Legendary Gary. Slated for a PC release some time early this year, Legendary Gary follows an avid gamer named Gary. Gary is trying to balance gaming with real life like any gamer, but as elements of the fantasy game he's playing gradually show up in his real life, things just get complicated.

"},{"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/g/mighty-indie-22a1e.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/g/mighty-indie-22a1e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177771","description":"

Keiji Inafune

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For nearly 20 years, Inafune was a producer and illustrator at Capcom, working on hit titles such as Street Fighter and the Mega Man series. He left Capcom to start his own game development studio Comcept. Although not the only game to come out of Comcept, the studio is best known for Mighty No. 9, a spiritual successor to the Mega Man series. Mighty No. 9 received mix reviews at best. As for Comcept, the studio was acquired by Level-5 in June 2017.

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Mighty No. 9 is available on Steam for $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/g/o/i/going-rogue-indie-games-8172c.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/o/i/going-rogue-indie-games-8172c.png","type":"slide","id":"177770","description":"

Working for a giant, well-known, international brand isn't for everyone, even if the job entails developing some of the best and most popular video games. Working on someone else's game is not the same as working on your own game, and many talented developers went on to do just that. Here are seven developers who went rogue, leaving awesome AAA projects to create their own game.

"}]]]>
DiceTalk: What is Dungeons and Dragons? https://www.gameskinny.com/fwim3/dicetalk-what-is-dungeons-and-dragons https://www.gameskinny.com/fwim3/dicetalk-what-is-dungeons-and-dragons Mon, 22 Jan 2018 12:57:53 -0500 Nicolas Entrabartolo

For many it was considered a cult, for others it was something to do on a Saturday night. But for most, it was an escape to a fantastic world of wonder and imagination. Because in Dungeons and Dragons, anything is possible ... anything. And the limitless wonder and ideas that people would come up with could go anywhere, and many of the top RPGs or MMOs can thank Dungeons and Dragons for its inspiration and pioneering. But what is Dungeons and Dragons exactly, and why is it so important? Well, we are here to show you exactly what it is and the reasons why you should get into this legendary tabletop game.

Dungeons and Dragons itself is a game 40 years in the making. A man named Gary Gygax started by going to conventions for war games and meeting with fellow developers, including cofounders Dave Arneson and Don Kaye. From there, the trio made the game Chainmail, which was an early system, revolving more around war games. From there, Arneson modeled campaigns around the system. Eventually they came out with the first iteration, Dungeons and Dragons, in three booklets in January 1973. And ever since, the system has grown, evolved, and adapted. Eventually becoming Wizards of the Coast, Dungeons and Dragons is now up to its sixth iteration and hasn't look stronger.

So many people wonder, what exactly do you do in Dungeons and Dragons? Aren't you just sitting around being nerds? Yes and no. While you do sit around imagining elves, fairies, and dragons, the experience is far more social and methodical. You and everyone else you are playing with make up everything in the world your characters are in -- and I mean everything. From where you go in the world down to the very skills that your characters have, you are in control.

The first sheet of the 5th Edition, this holds all the information and statistics needed for your character as you adventure.

The first page of the character sheet for 5th edition, this holds all the information needed to adventure.

The character sheet is the most important piece of paper you will ever have in Dungeons and Dragons. It holds not just your name, but your skills, abilities, languages, and how strong, smart, and even charming you are. This is the basis of the game, along with the roll of the dice. And that dice roll, depending on what you gave your character at creation, will dictate how proficient your character is in the overall tasks he or she undertakes. It can make for some epic moments, sad moments, and even hilarious ones at that. But in the end, anything is possible with a dice roll.

And even as extensive as these sheets can get, your imagination is usually what guides you on your way. Other than dice, paper, and pencil, everything else is up to our creativity. How we perceive our characters, how we believe they talk and act, how they handle hard times, good times, and even what we see, all comes down to imagination. This is what makes this game so timeless -- the endless possibilities for what can be done in the world you create. You can do anything.

But then comes that one question: why should I even try Dungeons and Dragons? For most, playing this tabletop is a social experience. Because at the core of this game is a collection of people coming together to tell a story and have some fun. And for many more people, it is a time where people can connect, catch up with some old friends, and have some laughs in a world that is totally controlled by them. It makes for an experience like no other.

Though you can start at any age, most people experience Dungeons and Dragons for the first time in their late teens, early twenties.

Dungeons and Dragons has brought something to the human experience like nothing else. It has brought about many video games, books, and even other genres akin to the d20 system. It has also come into use for helping children with social awkwardness and autism, helping them become comfortable with being social with others and slowly introducing them to different interactions. Dungeons and Dragons has helped produce so many positive things, whether it is the rise of massive gaming industries or bringing a smile to a young child.

So although many have doubts about playing Dungeons and Dragons, deep down I know many are just curious. Throughout the decade that I've been playing this game, I have always heard from people that they wished to play but never had a chance or didn't know how. There are probably campaigns happening all around you -- just go out and ask! Even people you work with, see at the bar, or even know from church could be in the fantastic world that they created. 

But if you wish to be more direct in your search, here are two helpful sites: Dungeons and Dragons Community and the Looking for Group Reddit. From both of these sites you can find groups anywhere! And if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask in the forums!

So that was a lot to take in, I understand. But take some time to think: would it be bad to try out some imagining? In a world that is ever so bitter, and sometimes boring, maybe brighten it up with some fantasy. Get some friends together and try out some of the pre-made adventures that Wizards of the Coast have released. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

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Thank you for tuning in to GameSkinny's DiceTalk! In the next article, we'll be exploring the idea of world creation and class fantasy. Have an interesting character idea or world concept? Let us know in the comments down below! And until next time, stay classy, gamers!

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10 Gaming Couples We'd Love to See Hook Up https://www.gameskinny.com/x50su/10-gaming-couples-wed-love-to-see-hook-up https://www.gameskinny.com/x50su/10-gaming-couples-wed-love-to-see-hook-up Mon, 22 Jan 2018 10:51:27 -0500 bazookajo94

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It's been a wild ride. We've gone from couples that are borderline terrifying because of their fandoms to couples that are borderline terrifying because they are literally monsters who kill people. 

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But love is love, and the internet is the internet, and you can't stop people from wanting and believing in love -- and then writing about it and drawing pictures for it. 

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Maybe, instead of searching through the internet to satisfy your cravings for crossover ships, just stick to Tomodachi Life. At least you can guarantee PG -- and only PG -- things happening on that 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/f/0/a/f0abded34ffb596fec5f6e9d343b2029-moon-tattoos-geek-games-4ad60.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/0/a/f0abded34ffb596fec5f6e9d343b2029-moon-tattoos-geek-games-4ad60.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177568","description":"

Jigglypuff x Kirby

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Another cute and wholesome ship, Jigglypuff and Kirby are a pair that I never thought about together until I saw a piece of fanart and cursed myself for not thinking of it sooner. 

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Although their relationship seems to stem from the fact that they're both pink and round and adorable, they work as a pair because they're both pink, round, and adorable together. 

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And there's nothing wrong with pairing together two cute things. 

"},{"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/f/d/sfdd-efdf7.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/f/d/sfdd-efdf7.png","type":"slide","id":"177567","description":"

Pinky x Boo

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The research I did for this article took me to some dark places, showed me some things I've never wanted to see ever in my life, burned frightening images into my brain. 

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One of the few bright aspects I found while searching was a brief line that mentioned Boo and Pinky as a couple, and I thought that was the cutest thing I've ever heard. 

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Two ghosties with differing agendas in different universes, living their undead lives and haunting their heroes. I'm glad someone out there thought to pair them together, because I think two 8-bit ghosts together is the most adorable thing that can happen in an article like this. 

"},{"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/0/a/e/0ae9f7882c60c70e1009b80181c06dc7-759e8.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/0/a/e/0ae9f7882c60c70e1009b80181c06dc7-759e8.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177570","description":"

Nurse Joy x Dr. Mario

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You know which Mario doesn't get enough love? Dr. MarioTalk about a fun game with a cute aesthetic and an intense hard mode. Some of the love for this game was renewed when Super Smash Bros brought Dr. Mario into the ring, but what sort of love does Dr. Mario really deserve? 

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Though he could be paired with any nurse and people would probably be like, "Oh, cute," Dr. Mario and Nurse Joy make a cute couple. 

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They both deserve more than their fandom gives them -- and their stereotypical medical outfits pair well together. 

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So please, internet. Give the people what they want. 

"},{"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/d/enderman-slenderman-kasodani-d5cp3zy-896e4.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/d/enderman-slenderman-kasodani-d5cp3zy-896e4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177569","description":"

Slenderman x Enderman

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Yes, you read that right. Slenderman x Enderman. 

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I bet you didn't know this was a thing. And why would you even think about it, except for the fact that they both lurk around at night and try to kill you? And their names both end in -man, which I guess just solidifies their love. 

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Slenderman and Enderman are a thing, guys. Find the fanfic, look for the fan art, and you will find it because this is a thing. 

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And you know what? It's not the worst thing I've ever seen. I can see where people are coming from. So enjoy all you can of these two before the Slenderman movie comes out and some really uncomfortable new ships arise. 

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Photo credit: Rosenblade

"},{"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/o/r/for-you-miss-wii-fit-trainer-villager-rzstudio-d8s2tfl-a7d8c.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/o/r/for-you-miss-wii-fit-trainer-villager-rzstudio-d8s2tfl-a7d8c.png","type":"slide","id":"177566","description":"

Wii Fit Trainer x Villager

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Super Smash Bros is an amazing game. It satisfies our hunger for crossovers by combining our favorite characters into one game and letting them tear each other apart -- or work together.

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It also pairs people together that you would never expect to be together until you hear someone say, "Wouldn't they be cute?" and suddenly that couple is all you can think about. 

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That's gotta be the only explanation for the Wii's Wii Fit Trainer being paired with Animal Crossing's Villager. Their popularity is baffling, but spend enough time looking at the fanart, and you start to see what everyone else is seeing: they are kinda cute together...

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Photo credit: RZSTUDIO

"},{"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/i/l/silent-hill-nurse-d72c3.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/i/l/silent-hill-nurse-d72c3.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177561","description":"

Nurse x Witch

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Who's says monsters can't have love? Any piece of fiction retelling the story of Beauty and the Beast sets out to prove this theory -- and people love it. 

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But will people love it as much if a monster is paired with another monster? I like to think so -- and no monsters go better together than a Witch and a Nurse. 

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Though most people ship the Nurse from Silent Hill with Pyramid Head (which is also cute -- if you can call couples like that cute), and Left 4 Dead's Witch with the Hunter, putting the two creepy women together just seems like the only natural course of action. 

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They're both dreary, creepy, and ready to kill. I am ready for the fan art.

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(Seriously, though. Where is 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/c/r/o/cross-over-lara-croft-nathan-drake-asunachou-dakdrc5-84add.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/cross-over-lara-croft-nathan-drake-asunachou-dakdrc5-84add.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177565","description":"

Lara Croft x Nathan Drake

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I talk a lot about couples made for each other, but in all honesty, I don't think there's any crossover couple as made for each other as Lara Croft and Nathan Drake are. 

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I don't even have to tell you why they would work together because I'm sure that as soon as you saw them staring soulfully into each other's eyes, you were like, "Ah. Yep. I get it." 

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Just imagine the temples they could explore. Imagine the shenanigans. Imagine the perils they'll face -- together. I'm dying over here. 

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Good thing there's enough fan art and some fanfiction to hold me over until someone makes me a game.

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Photo credit: AsunaChou

"},{"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/m/kim-eul-bong-illust-bff3f.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/m/kim-eul-bong-illust-bff3f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177551","description":"

Jinx x Harley Quinn

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With all the hubbub going around about people finally realizing that Joker and Harley's relationship isn't as cute as everyone once thought it to be, it's nice to know that people can escape that Mad Love by shipping Harley with someone else -- like with League of Legends' Jinx. 

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Though, with both of their tendencies to blow stuff up and laugh about it, their relationship could be just as dysfunctional as Joker and Harley. 

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But they just look so cute together ....

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As a side note, some fanfic writers and fan art artists portray Jinx as Joker and Harley's daughter; personally, I prefer the romantic ship. 

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Photo credit: Kim Eul bong

"},{"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/4/4/f441dfb1cabfa8089af3aa1e0f24302e-85a4a.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/4/4/f441dfb1cabfa8089af3aa1e0f24302e-85a4a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177553","description":"

Samus x Mega Man

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I think we deserve a well-earned palate cleanser after that first ship. Let's reward ourselves with the cuteness that is Samus and Megaman. 

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What's not to love? They both shoot guns, they both fight aliens, and they're both heroes worth looking up to. They even have the cute complementary color palette of blue and orange that alludes to them being an "opposites attract" couple, even though I just spent three sentences saying how similar they are. 

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If nothing else, Samus x Mega Man fulfill the cutest couple trope of all: height difference.

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Photo credit: TeeTurtle

"},{"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/a/k/fake-sonic-screenshot-mario-xxsilverthehedgehog-d62n64p-2c6fa.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/a/k/fake-sonic-screenshot-mario-xxsilverthehedgehog-d62n64p-2c6fa.png","type":"slide","id":"177552","description":"

Mario x Sonic

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Admittedly, this first pairing is more of a crack pairing than any serious inkling I have to ship these two. But their fanbases are so large -- and terrifying -- that even if I were loath to seriously include them on this list, somewhere out there is someone currently writing the fanfiction and drawing the art (you could not pay me to link to this), and I have no choice but to add them to a crossover coupling list because of their popularity. 

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Is it their competitive natures that appeal to people? Their similar "Jack of All Trades" stats in their sports games? Perhaps it's the contrast of the red and the blue. 

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I don't know. I don't care. Perhaps in a PG universe, I could see the appeal -- alas, as long as rule 34 exists in the universe, I will never do an image search for Mario and Sonic ever again. 

"},{"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/r/harley-quinn-jinx-avalon-d9c1yqe-2184b.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/r/harley-quinn-jinx-avalon-d9c1yqe-2184b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177550","description":"

You remember when you first bought Tomodachi Life and, after you made everyone in the room and your secret crush, you started thinking, "Wouldn't it be great if my avatar hooked up with my fictional love, lol?"

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So you make a few of your fictional crushes, and you wait for them to notice you -- but instead, they notice someone else, and you're like, "No! That's not who you're supposed to be with!" -- and now Mario is married to Zelda, and Link is watching Samus, and Peach is starting a family with your cousin Joe, and you're starting to think that this isn't too bad ....

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Okay, so maybe this is more of a personal problem. But there is something unbelievably fun about romantically pairing off characters that could never meet in their respective universes. 

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It's up to you to decide if these 10 crossover couples are more of a crack pairing, a match made in heaven, or a match made in the ninth circle of hell. 

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Photo credit: Avalon- 23

"}]]]>
10 Sexiest Bachelorettes in the Gaming Universe https://www.gameskinny.com/ner1f/10-sexiest-bachelorettes-in-the-gaming-universe https://www.gameskinny.com/ner1f/10-sexiest-bachelorettes-in-the-gaming-universe Mon, 22 Jan 2018 10:00:02 -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/c/r/o/crowd-people-images-sihlouette-bf709.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/crowd-people-images-sihlouette-bf709.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177609","description":"

Player Character from Every Game that Lets you Create Your Own Character, EGTLYCYOC

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Whether you are playing Skyrim, Mass Effect, or Fire Emblem, you can rest easy knowing that when the control is placed into your hands, you can create your ideal woman, or at least the one who most nearly approximates your ideal woman based off of the customization options available at your fingertips.

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Some RPGs leave the story so open-ended that you have complete freedom of interpretation; in other words, you can decide your own character traits. So if there's a quality your dream girl would have that no sane game developer would have the guts to include, then you can take solace in knowing that she has it, even if it is an unspoken truth that only you and she know about.

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---

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Phew! That was exhausting. It’s hard to write about so many beautiful women without getting a little worn out. But alas, my mission is complete, and we have brought together the 10 sexiest bachelorettes in gaming. Since I already know I am inevitably wrong, who would you have loved to have seen on this list? And which entries do you think should be taken off? We’d love to hear about what fictional ladies keep you up at night. Note: If fictional ladies are literally keeping you up at night, you might want to contact your physician about that. Our comment section is not a sounding board for medical advice.

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Header obtained from Guild Master 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/g/a/r/gardevoir-image-c6c88.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/a/r/gardevoir-image-c6c88.png","type":"slide","id":"177608","description":"

Gardevoir Jane Doe from Pokemon series

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I know what you are thinking:”But she’s a Pokemon .…” This is factually accurate. But before you hop onto your high Rapidash and start making comparisons to bestiality, I’d like to point out that while many Pokemon are rather beast-like, there are also a lot of animated objects -- aka not beasts. That’s not even to mention all the ghosts, most of which are actual human beings’ souls manifest in different fashions. To further humanize Gardevoir, I would like to point out that she specifically belongs to the human-like egg group, which is sort of a contradiction since we humans don't breed via externally laid eggs, but my point stands! Gardevoir is also a psychic type, many of which have been shown to be capable of communicating with humans telepathically, which is arguably an even more advanced form of communication than vocal expressions of language.

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In fact, Game Theory’s old video titled Humans are Pokemon, embedded below, gives plenty of great reasons why it’s not really all that crazy to think that Pokemon are related to us, including ancient lure that suggests human and Pokemon were once interchangeable as well as evidence that evolution plays a role in the Poke-verse. As such, it's not all that hard to believe certain Pokemon, like Gardevoir, are biologically very similar to us humans.

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With the realization that Gardevoir is actually of a species that is merely a lateral move away from human beings, I have decided to strike through her name in the header and instead recognize her as Jane Doe until the liberated members of the genus Gardevoir have each independently chosen their own names.

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For this reason, seeking out a Gardevoir as a partner is not about "catching" a foine humanoid Pokemon. In fact, it is something that can't even be truly sought until a whole societal structure has been toppled. A societal structure that has willingly placed close genetic relatives of human beings into subjugation next to literal trash monsters. 

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This may have started out with an edgy joke about hitting things off with a Gardevoir, but this has now become a call to arms. Things must be changed. Join our cause and help save our brothers and sisters in captivity today!

"},{"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/r/cortana-image-8d302.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/r/cortana-image-8d302.png","type":"slide","id":"177607","description":"

Cortana from Halo series

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I might have said that Yuna represented the perfect balance between desirable and attainable, and that’s true within the context of the article. That is to say, assuming she’s real and attainable. As such, Cortana represents a somewhat meta-selection for this list. Assuming digital girls are obtainable still leaves Cortana unattainable, because she's a program inside of a program. As such, she would only be a viable mating option if viewed through an in-universe "Top 10 sexiest AIs in the Halo Universe" article. 

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Cortana is also notable for being a high-profile character that becomes increasingly more voluptuous as her series goes on, while the reason behind her being voluptuous in the first place was never clear. According to a guy who transcribed a GamesRadar interview, franchise chief Frank O'Connor seemingly admits that Cortana was made to be sexy and that any reasoning as to why that might be was only thought about after the fact. Which would be fine if he didn't hide it under some sort of logic where she uses sexuality to manipulate people. All I'm saying is that I couldn't ever imagine a situation where her sexuality would be utilized to leverage me to place her in a position that her mere wit would not; she's only on this list for her wits. Her sexy, blue wits.

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Image obtained from Reddit

"},{"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/y/u/n/yuna-image-d337d.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/y/u/n/yuna-image-d337d.png","type":"slide","id":"177606","description":"

Yuna from Final Fantasy X and X-2

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Lady Yunalesca has a ton of attractive qualities without overwhelming you with, "I'm a strong female lead who's super badass!" (Although she is badass.) Watching her character arc over the course of the first and second games shows someone who goes from being shy, timid, and reserved to her place in the world to being someone that is willing to carve out her own place in the world and let loose a little bit while still caring for others. That’s not to mention that she’s cute, quirky, awkward, loyal, kind, and other superlatives you’d throw at someone. If she has one character flaw, it’d probably be that she cares too much. (No seriously, she was willing to sacrifice herself and marry the creepiest guy this side of the farplane.) Okay, so in a lot of ways, she is a traditional leading character. 

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Thankfully, the guy that was her romantic pursuit and who helped shape her along this great arc was actually like a ghost or something the whole damned time. It’s actually kind of confusing. Regardless, he’s not in the picture, and that’s perfect. Because while Yuna is all of those great things above, she has daddy issues since he sacrificed himself to “save” the world when she was a child, and she’s grieving the death (re-death?) of her lover. If there’s ever a better, more opportune time to strike gold, then I haven’t seen it.

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I’m not saying it’d be easy, but half of what makes someone attractive is their availability. Too hard to get and it’s unattainable. Too easy and it’s not fun. Yuna’s just right, though, and that’s why she makes this list.

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Header obtained from Final Fantasy Mages. 

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Mother Brain from the Metroid series

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If brains are important to you, then -- in a very literal sense -- you are in the right place. Mother Brain has a ton of brains because she basically is just a giant brain (I know some iterations have the brain on top of a giant monster, but I'm not about that life, fam.). Some might say that beauty isn’t just skin deep, and I could hardly agree more, considering that Mother Brain doesn’t have any skin at all -- just a brain surrounded by a giant glass container. Sure that might be disconcerting for some, but not me. I love brains.

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Am I completely missing the point of the skin-deep cliche by only loving her for the physical beauty of her brain and not the actual personality stored within? Why yes. I most assuredly am, but I might also be missing the point of this article.

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That’s right, Mother Brain might not be a bachelorette at all. I mean her name is MOTHER, and if there is a mother, there must be a father somewhere. Usually, fathers are husbands, and while the possibility of a breadth of Baby Dad Brains is completely possible, this is Nintendo we are talking about, so I highly doubt it. They’d keep things PG and only allude to consensual sex between Mother Brain and Father Brain, obviously.

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Lastly, I’d be remiss if I weren’t to mention her physical appearance. Look, I know she’s a BIG brain, but big girls deserve love too. On top of that, she has a beautiful, glaring eye that you could just get lost in for days. Combine that with her giant, sleek spikes, which make her feel playfully unapproachable, dangerous, and edgy, and you really have someone that is irresistible. She’s the whole package ... except for a body. She doesn’t have one of those, but basically, everything else you could want is there.

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Zelda from the Legend of Zelda series

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After nearly three decades of having little to no personality, it is nice to finally see Princess Zelda become a fleshed-out character -- well, as fleshed out as video game characters get. I’ve always liked the quiet and shy type, and there’s nothing that says quiet and shy quite like not saying enough over three decades to warrant having a discernible personality.

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To make things even better, Zelda also spices things up with some classy, story-convenient amnesia that leaves her acting like a pirate in Wind Waker. Talk about personality! Pirates always have a ton of personality, whether it’s stealing things, pillaging (or in the case of Nintendo, sort of gently harassing people but never really causing any discernible harm), or, well I guess that’s about all pirates do.

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Oh, and there was that time where Zelda cross-dressed and turned into Sheik. She's truly an odd girl.

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You might argue that Zelda isn’t actually a bachelorette. But let’s not play coy: if a girl leads you on for three decades before finally talking to you, I’d beg to say she’s probably not that into you. Anyway, even if she was into Link, it’d be hard to not notice someone and be at least remotely interested after he’d saved your life and/or kingdom for like the 20th time -- I don’t really think things would turn out that well, considering that the only character in the series who has struggled with exhibiting any sort of personality or emotions more than Zelda has been her savior, Link.

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GLaDOS from the Portal series

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Who doesn’t love GLaDOS? Isn’t that solid-enough logic to land her on this list, or am I -- much like GLaDOS -- fundamentally misunderstanding a core part of what drives human beings? I mean, everyone who has played Portal loves her and says she is one of the best parts of the game. Naturally, that means she should be desirable on a list like this. Sure, she’s a little murderous and seems to mostly lack empathy, but if you’re a sub, then that should be right up your alley. And as I am sure I have mentioned at least once or twice so far on this list, I am nothing if not inclusive.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/cb344ab2983f62464341d52b20b58301.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/cb344ab2983f62464341d52b20b58301.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11805","description":"

Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider series

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Lara Croft was the poster girl for video game girls from her inception in the 90’s until … possibly still now? There really aren’t many franchises based around women in video games. With her short shorts, long braid, and giant, blocky, pyramid-shaped, polygonal breasts, Lara Croft caught the attention of just about every gamer, for better or worse. In a move that drips with the forced shock and edginess of the '90s, Lara Croft’s sex appeal was leveraged into Tomb Raider’s silver screen translation of the same name, Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie.

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I saw this movie as a child, but I don’t remember much about it. What I do remember, rather distinctly, is the conversation my mom and aunt had afterward, wherein both proclaimed that Angelina Jolie was so hot that they could see themselves going gay for her. Which was sort of odd.

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I had to agree: she was definitely very hot. But what if Angelina Jolie were to become my second mom? Then I’d be like,”Damn second mom, you are, like, really hot!” And that’d be all sorts of weird and would give me extremely conflicting issues into adulthood, along with some mommy problems. I guess I should just be thankful that Angelina Jolie never came beckoning at our door.

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So here's to Lara Croft for making me ask weird questions about how I’d feel with a hot, unrelated, celebrity lesbian mom. I probably would've been fine with it ....

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Lusamine from Pokemon Sun and Moon

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A list like this is always going to be fundamentally flawed. For instance, it is likely to be dominated by characters from games people actually know or care about. Moreover, it will also be dominated by characters the author is familiar with. But perhaps the most glaring flaw is that it will be dominated by characters that the author finds attractive, which is at least partly the purpose of the list and yet also seems to fly in the face of it. I mean, no one wants to just know which 10 video game girls I find the hottest.

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And yet, with Lusamine, my weird sense of humor and my attraction to a character combine, resulting in me both adding her to this list and to an hour-long break from writing this article that leads me into dark places of the internet where hentai rules all and Lusamine is a proverbial queen. I mean, she literally is engulfed by a giant tentacle monster in the actual video game, so Nintendo kind of dropped the ball on that one.

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Tracer from Overwatch

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Yeah. I know, I choose one of the most basic options to start out, but I just wanted to make sure to ease you into things, okay?

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You frankly can’t have as much porn made involving you as Tracer has and not at least be considered for this list. I know this technically makes half of the Overwatch cast subject to being placed on this list, while the other half are either men or robots. But it’s because of this that I view Tracer as somewhat symbolic and representative of the larger female portion of Overwatch’s cast.

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Tracer was one of the first characters shown off. She is generically heroic and preppy, as opposed to characters like Widowmaker. Oh, and she’s on the game’s freaking cover! It’s hard for Blizzard to be any more clear about the fact that she is the game’s primary mascot. You can like whichever character you want, and the love seems to be spread around, but Tracer is their darling. Lastly, she’s also the only LGBTQ character on this list. While I'm no SJW -- not that many people seem to profess that they are -- I had to show some love for the ladies that love the ladies.

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So, while I don’t REALLY need to defend why I choose this Overwatch female for my list of sexiest bachelorettes in the gaming universe, I did. Enjoy!

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Ah, can’t you smell that? Love is in the air, and it’s time for everyone who's anyone to cash in on the ensuing Valentine’s Day-themed money rush. (Look, I can be complicit to the system while still criticizing it.) Anyway, what trouble did choosing our favorite video game gals based off of random, varying, and ill-conceived criteria ever cause anyone?

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Changing gears, I’d like to place some caveats on this list: I can’t promise all the women on this list are bachelorettes. And even if they are at the time of writing, this list will not be updated to reflect their future relationship statuses, so be warned. Likewise, I can’t promise that the above non-existent criteria for who I choose will line up with your likely existent, yet ill-advised, and poorly contemplated criteria for who I should have chosen. As such, you might disagree with some of my entries on this list.

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That being said, to the best of my knowledge, all of the women are indeed women, even if they only loosely fit the criteria that you might hope would define it, such as having a body. If nothing else, rest assured all of these fine ladies are from video games.

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Now, without further ado, let’s get started.

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I Swear There's Philosophy in Getting Over It https://www.gameskinny.com/bsabb/i-swear-theres-philosophy-in-getting-over-it https://www.gameskinny.com/bsabb/i-swear-theres-philosophy-in-getting-over-it Sun, 21 Jan 2018 18:20:33 -0500 pithyalyse

From punishing run-and-guns like Cuphead to Hollow Knight’s take on the already difficult Metroidvania formula, gamers had plenty of titles to rage quit over in 2017. But one game in particular left some frothing at the mouth.

The premise of Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy, an indie PC platformer released in October, is simple: get to the top of the mountain using a hammer controlled by your mouse to grip onto obstacles. But with Foddy, the game’s developer and narrator, as well as the devilish mind behind QWOP, things are never quite that easy. Wonky physics and an increasingly difficult landscape make every inch gained a battle, and if (when) you fall, you lose that progress permanently.

But as players overcome the pitfalls of their climb, what they may not notice is the metaphysical struggle happening before their eyes. Foddy left several clues highlighting this philosophical symbolism peppered throughout his sarcastic narration. The biggest tell being the name of our hero, the man behind the hammer: Diogenes.

In this naming of his protagonist, Foddy calls back to one of the founding minds of Cynic philosophy: ancient Greece’s Diogenes of Sinope. Diogenes believed true happiness could only be achieved by living simply, through meeting one’s natural needs instead of those imposed by society. And so he cast off all worldly goods, took to begging, and made his home inside an abandoned cask – thus why Getting Over It’s protagonist resides in a pot. Around the fourth century BC, Diogenes’ frequent and fierce public displays of his belief inspired several tales of varying authenticity until he became known more as a character of the period than a philosopher.

To give you an idea of the man who’d become known as “Diogenes the Cynic,” he reportedly once threw away his only possession – a cup for food and drink – after seeing a child drink from a fountain with his hands. Diogenes then lamented, “A child his beaten me in plainness of living!” Alexander the Great was purportedly very fond of the philosopher, and visited him once in Athens during his travels. Alexander offered to grant him a favor, to which Diogenes shooed him away; the conqueror was blocking his sun.

But how does this relate back to a game about a bald man with superhuman upper-body strength propelling himself up a mountain? Well, if you unpack the narrator’s words a bit, he spells it out for you.

 

Foddy explains that his inspiration for Getting Over It came from a 2002 game called Sexy Hiking, an indie game also about climbing up a mountain with a hammer (who knew it was a genre?). Sexy Hiking typified B games, he argues, which are “rough assemblages of found objects” assembled quickly and at little expense at the cost of playability. “They’re built more for the joy of building them than as polished products,” Foddy explains.

Many have speculated, Foddy continues, that all video games will eventually be constructed through this assembly line process, with prefabricated objects reused over and over to populate our virtual playgrounds. But this argument doesn’t account for context. Just like food and water, media is consumable, so rapid-fire creation of it only results in an equally rapid-fire mounting of cultural trash as we burn through our endless feeds. And when a game is created from what the public perceives as trash, the game itself is then seen as, well, trash.

The mountain you climb in Getting Over It is built from these replicable B game assets; in short, it’s something out of Diogenes’ nightmares, its recycled nature becoming increasingly apparent the farther you climb. As you pass rocks and trees, a construction zone begins to take shape, materials laid out haphazardly in ways that aid your ascent. From there, everything begins to look like an M.C. Escher painting. Playgrounds and boxes defy gravity, living room furniture extends skyward in an impossibly balanced stack, stairs spiral into infinity.

And what does our hero Diogenes do when faced with such a tangible display of human consumption? Well, he gets over it. The player only has two methods of interacting with Foddy’s world after all: conquer the mountain, or stop trying. And as Diogenes climbs past the detritus left behind by worldly pursuits, his actions – and by extension the player’s – began to build a metaphor that parallels the teachings of Cynic philosophy. By overcoming reminders of his shallow desires and superficial needs, he’s reaching new heights in pursuit of something greater: fulfillment.

In this way, we can view Getting Over It as an extension of Diogenes’ quest to live a wholesome life according to his philosophy. The objects comprising the mountain, purposefully made to look like repurposed B game assets, further illustrate this point. Though they may be useless in and of themselves, the challenge they pose is very real since any one could be your literal downfall, sending you cursing and screaming back to the start of the game.  

“Imaginary mountains build themselves from our efforts to climb them,” Foddy narrates. “And it’s our repeated attempts to reach the summit that turns those mountains into something real.” This parallels another piece of Diophenes’ philosophy: that the constant pursuit of satisfying superficial, societal needs distorted people’s realities. He reportedly often traveled through the Athens city square with a lantern in broad daylight, shining it in people’s faces in the pursuit of “a real human being,” he said. In this same vein, societal expectations become the imaginary mountain Foddy speaks of: self-imposed, but becoming real in our repeated attempts to succeed within their confines. Ironic, considering Getting Over It is yet another imaginary mountain by that definition. No one is forcing the player to continue tackling its difficult challenge. But, then again, no one was forcing Diogenes the Cynic either.

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Everything We Know about Dragon Quest Builders on the Switch https://www.gameskinny.com/s9v3i/everything-we-know-about-dragon-quest-builders-on-the-switch https://www.gameskinny.com/s9v3i/everything-we-know-about-dragon-quest-builders-on-the-switch Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:01:44 -0500 Andrew Krajewski

Square Enix recently released new screenshots of Dragon Quest Builders for the Nintendo Switch ahead of its Spring release. One image that stands out is of the player's character riding the Great Sabrecub, a Switch exclusive announced during Nintendo's September Direct in 2017. Players will be able to ride the Great Sabrecub in free build mode and gather special materials for customization.

Players can also head into the story mode, which brings the player back to Alefgard in an alternate timeline from the first game of the franchise. The playable demo of the Switch version is now available and allows players to get a peek into the story and mechanics of the game. 

Now, for the uninitiated who might not know what exactly Dragon Quest Builders is, here's a quick rundown:

It's a Dragon Quest Game

The Dragon Quest franchise dates all the way back to 1986. Until 2002, it was called Dragon Warrior in the U.S. due to trademark concerns over a tabletop RPG with the DragonQuest name. The franchise is well-known for its writing while its mascot, the slime, is one of the most easily recognizable characters in video games. It is one of the most popular RPGs outside of the United States and has had several successful spin-offs.

It's a Sandbox RPG

Upon first glance, Dragon Quest Builders is just Minecraft with a Dragon Quest skin on top of it. Players can harvest materials from the land and monsters around them to craft building and items. Unlike Minecraft, the game offers players much more in terms of story, and it also offers players bonuses for building certain buildings. The simplicity of this genre helps make it an approachable entry point into the franchise.

It's a Good Game

The game is consistently praised by reviewers for its charming aesthetic, great music, and polished crafting system. Dragon Quest Builders received a positive reception when it was released in 2016 on PS3, PS4, and the PS Vita. Its February 9th release on the Switch should help bring more fans to the franchise before Dragon Quest Builders 2 launches later this year.

 

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You can learn more about Dragon Quest Builders by reading our review and checking out our beginner's guide. You can also check out the demo for Dragon Quest Builders on Nintendo's website. Be sure to stick around GameSkinny for all your news on the most famous slimes in video games and more!

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How Yume Nikki Built a Cult Following https://www.gameskinny.com/rrtwc/how-yume-nikki-built-a-cult-following https://www.gameskinny.com/rrtwc/how-yume-nikki-built-a-cult-following Wed, 17 Jan 2018 10:52:27 -0500 Allison M Reilly

Creepy young women in creepy bedrooms investigating creepy environments always makes for a great plot. In the case of Yume Nikki, that's all the player gets for a plot; everything else is left to the imagination. There's no dialogue. There are no maps. There's no story to unravel or discover. The self-guided exploration so central to the game is also central to the creation of the game's cult following.

Yume Nikki: A Short History

Yume Nikki, which translates to "dream diary" in English, is a surrealistic horror "RPG" originally released in 2004. "RPG" is used loosely here, as the game was created on RPG Maker 2003 but features very few RPG elements, if any at all. In Yume Nikki, players explore dream worlds as a reclusive young woman known as Madotsuki. There are 12 worlds players can explore, collecting 24 different "effects" that have various uses in the game. There's no real goal to the game, if collecting 24 "effects" doesn't count as a goal. 

The game rose to prominence after an unofficial English translation was released soon after the original release. The fanbase, already substantial in Japan, expanded globally with the English translation. Within the last year, the game has found fans among Chinese and Taiwanese players. Yume Nikki is now free-to-play on Steam, with publisher AGM Playism teasing a follow-up to be released on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

There's a Method to the Madness

Yume Nikki was created by a Japanese developer known as Kikiyama. Besides the pseudonym, not much more is known about the developer, and Kikiyama has refused to divulge anything regarding Yume Nikki's symbolism, canon, or creative choices. The lack of explanation leaves fans theorizing, conjecturing on everything from Madotsuki's backstory to why the only way to interact with any NPC is with a knife. When explanations are offered, they are rejected and criticized, as demonstrated by the spin-off manga and novel. And because Yume Nikki is composed of dream worlds, everything has a meaning. Everything relates back to the waking world in some shape or form.

What's Next?

As for the follow-up coming out later this month, all Playism has said is that Yume Nikki: Dream Diary is the "next Yume Nikki project." Whether the follow-up is going to be a sequel, a remake, or a brand-new game is yet to be seen. The bizarre, eight-minute teaser doesn't say much more beyond "next Yume Nikki project," but that's to be expected. A game known for not telling players all that much isn't going to do a 180 and spill its secrets. And as the Yume Nikki fanbase has shown, they wouldn't want it any other way.

Yume Nikki is currently free-to-play on Steam

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10 Sexiest Bachelors in the Gaming Universe https://www.gameskinny.com/33435/10-sexiest-bachelors-in-the-gaming-universe https://www.gameskinny.com/33435/10-sexiest-bachelors-in-the-gaming-universe Wed, 17 Jan 2018 09:36:15 -0500 bazookajo94

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So there you go. 10 different dudes with 10 different ways to steal my heart, whether that happens by being ruggedly handsome or by knowing their way around a weapon (wink). 

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But this is but one girl's opinion. Maybe this list only reveals the dark recesses of my soul and shouldn't be taken seriously. Maybe you're thinking, "Well, she's got a type." 

\n

Maybe you should tell me who you think the most eligible bachelor of all eligible bachelors is.

\n

(And remember -- The Shape of Water is popular right now ....)

"},{"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/s/jasonbrody-3d92c.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/s/jasonbrody-3d92c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177386","description":"

Jason Brody from Far Cry 3

\n

One of my favorite tropes is when a renowned player, an exuberant party-goer, a rich son of a bitch, has a fall from grace and learns what it's like to live on the other side. The movie Overboard? Sign me tf up. 

\n

Jason Brody goes through this transformation, but instead of learning to sympathize with peasants, he turns into a stone-cold killer. And honestly, he is the main man in my heart. I don't know why everyone talks about Vaas when Brody is the real crazy one. 

\n

He goes from not knowing how to sympathize with another human being to sympathizing with other human beings and being a badass survivalist at the same time. He hunts tigers, fights pirates, burns fields of marijuana, all while saving everyone's lives. 

\n

Like, damn, Jason Brody. Hardcore. 

"},{"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-80c0d.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-80c0d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177385","description":"

Mike Munroe from Until Dawn

\n

All right, let's step back from the older gentlemen now (I refuse to use the word you're all expecting me to say). 

\n

Let's showcase my boy Mike Munroe, who's kind of a dick, kind of funny, and a whole lotta douche. Half of the people who play this game hate him, and the other half hate themselves for liking him. 

\n

But there's something to say about a guy who chops off his own fingers with a machete just so he doesn't lose the machete -- because anyone who balls that hard in a survival game deserves a place on this 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/p/r/o/professor-sycamore-hands-down-sexiest-part-14201-1382450873-01dcf.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/professor-sycamore-hands-down-sexiest-part-14201-1382450873-01dcf.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177383","description":"

Professor Sycamore from Pokemon X & Y

\n

I thought it would be funny if I added Professor Sycamore to this list, and I was right. I'm cackling as I prepare to write about the merits of this professor, all the while lamenting that people expected to see the shirtless wonder of Kuikui here, even though he's married and I can't bend the rules for him like I did for Marston (who's dead).

\n

Most everyone's love for Sycamore seems to be purely material: he's got a cute face, luscious hair, and a popped collar. What could be more sexy? (I hate that I just used the word "sexy" in relation to a Pokemon character.)

\n

Alas, people's love for Sycamore knows no bounds. Here's a Buzzfeed article professing love for this lovable professor -- and I honestly can't tell if it's a satire or 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/r/e/d/red-dead-redemption-john-marston-revolver-1280-50dc6.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/e/d/red-dead-redemption-john-marston-revolver-1280-50dc6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177382","description":"

John Marston from Red Dead Redemption

\n

I know that, technically, John Marston is married and wouldn't be considered a bachelor, but that's not going to stop me from adding him to this list of "Gruff, bearded men with dark hair and guns who are considered sexy by at least one writer."

\n

There are only a few times I've seen a character supposedly considered an "expert" at guns actually live up to their reputation. And darned if Marston doesn't live up to his. I actually believe that he could hit a target with both eyes closed, and that belief has got me all twitterpated.

\n

Who cares if he's not technically a bachelor? If you want to get really technical, then nobody gets to love John Marston because he's dead.  

"},{"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/c/5/cc579d19ebf45fbc7dc3d7a8e58527e5-e1508672973350-480x270-42e0e.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/c/5/cc579d19ebf45fbc7dc3d7a8e58527e5-e1508672973350-480x270-42e0e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177381","description":"

Joel from The Last of Us

\n

Joel and Booker have a lot in common: a lost daughter, a surrogate daughter, and the voice of Troy Baker. 

\n

Setting aside his tragic backstory and road to retribution, Joel also has keen survival instincts and a commanding presence that cause people to turn to him when they need help. 

\n

Even though he's kind of an ass, his heart has the capacity to love, and as soon as he does, people don't want him to stop loving. Everyone is rooting for Joel; everyone loves Joel; and everyone is a sucker for a gruff, bearded man in flannel. 

"},{"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/o/booker-dewitt-bioshock-infinite-1452704685-d2133.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/o/booker-dewitt-bioshock-infinite-1452704685-d2133.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177379","description":"

Booker DeWitt from BioShock Infinite

\n

You know what else makes a woman weak in the knees? A tragic back story (and the voice of Troy Baker). 

\n

Booker DeWitt is man with past mistakes and a never-ending guilt, leaving people with a desire to see him earn his retribution. 

\n

Maybe it's the fact that DeWitt has a personality (as opposed to the other BioShock protagonists); maybe it's because of his interactions with Elizabeth; maybe it's the clothes. 

\n

One things for sure, though: if you know how to handle a gun and you have a voice like Troy Baker, then you've got a place on this list (and in my heart).

"},{"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/o/leon-kennedy-wallpaper-resident-evil-35806038-1920-1080-7754d.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/o/leon-kennedy-wallpaper-resident-evil-35806038-1920-1080-7754d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177378","description":"

Leon from Resident Evil

\n

All right, all right. I'll step back from the monstrous suitors by introducing one who kills monsters instead. 

\n

And what sort of list of sexiest video bachelors wouldn't include the original: Leon Scott Kennedy. 

\n

Talk about a lady killer. And a zombie killer. And an all-around killer in general. 

\n

This guy knows what he's doing, what needs to be done, and when to do it. And just like with Dante, women like a man with confidence. 

\n

With Leon's ever-constant presence in the Resident Evil games, he will have an ever-constant place in our hearts -- and lists about sexiest men. 

"},{"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-1920-1080-m1acjvm-6ce6f.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/c/r/screenshot-1920-1080-m1acjvm-6ce6f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177376","description":"

Dante from Devil May Cry

\n

What's a girl to do when they can't pick between an angel and a devil? 

\n

Pick Dante. 

\n

Part devil, part angel, Dante has been stealing the hearts of women everywhere with his intense gaze, his open shirt, and his overwhelming confidence, all combined with a bad-ass attitude and strong desire to kill demons. And let's not forgot all the awesome powers he has. 

\n

He's literally the full package of good and evil -- but mostly good.

"},{"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/o/4/fo4-john-hancock-8e02d.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/o/4/fo4-john-hancock-8e02d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177375","description":"

Hancock from Fallout 4

\n

I'll never forget my first step into Goodneighbor. My lingering resentment still strong from the revelation that Nick Valentine's epic buildup resulted in a 50's-style old-man detective, I take a step into this new environment, ready for my next mission, and suddenly a ghoul is shooting a man trying to kill me and telling me he runs the place. 

\n

Needless to say, I fell in love immediately. 

\n

Like Garrus, Hancock is another man looking for his place in life, looking for a friend, and eternally grateful that the sole survivor accepts him for who he is. 

\n

You just have to overlook the massive addiction to drugs and violence. At least he's a nice guy, right? And he's a mayor. 

"},{"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/r/garrus-0e692.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/r/garrus-0e692.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177374","description":"

Garrus from Mass Effect

\n

You can't take two steps into the Mass Effect fandom without seeing some Garrus/Shepard fanart. And with a face like that, who would blame someone for drawing what the fans want?

\n

Some people can't understand why Garrus is so popular with the ladies, but, call us crazy, ladies like a guy who's nice. There's something undeniably adorable about a man who's awkward around a potential romantic conquest -- and not afraid to admit it. 

\n

Not to mention he's known as the "Space Batman," and everyone knows how successful Batman is with the ladies...

"},{"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/s/jason-brody-e85b4.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/s/jason-brody-e85b4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177371","description":"

When women have nowhere else to turn to find a decent man in their lives, they go for someone they always know will be there: fictional characters. Though it's easy to fangirl over book characters (all I need to say is "Mr. Darcy" and swoons are heard across the world), where are the good video game men? Where are the scruffy gaming guys, the nice dudes, the sexy?

\n

Right here. This list. Top ten. Let's go. 

\n

And with the popularity of del Toro's The Shape of Water spreading through the hearts of women everywhere, I probably shouldn't have to worry about putting someone like Bowser or Specter Knight on the list -- but, for the sake of all our dignities, I'll stick with the mostly human bachelors. 

\n

Mostly. 

"}]]]>
How and Why Dragons Are So Important to the RPG Universe https://www.gameskinny.com/j5hqn/how-and-why-dragons-are-so-important-to-the-rpg-universe https://www.gameskinny.com/j5hqn/how-and-why-dragons-are-so-important-to-the-rpg-universe Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:13:06 -0500 Spongehoe

Everybody loves a good dragon attacking you out of nowhere mid-game. Somehow the sheer, elegant grandeur of these creatures has been captivating audiences across cultures for a century, making them a prime symbol in almost all epic fantasy games on the market.

Our grotesque quadruped friends have both Western and Eastern roots, with the Western fella being winged, treacherous, and greedy, and the Eastern counterpart calm, serpentine, and mystical. Almost all cultures have a reference to the dragon in their scriptures, from India to Persia to Japan to Norway. Being a rather vicious reptile, it naturally induced fear into the hearts of our ancestors.

Alduin from ES V: Skyrim - he's got quite a mouth on him

Dragons have endlessly fascinated and terrified human beings, but curiously, the concept of hero versus dragon has been an almost perpetual abstract of art, media, and storytelling dating back as far as Sumerian times. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, dating back to 2100 BC, Gilgamesh is considered a dragon-slayer of Humbaba, the fire-breathing beast. The symbol of hero versus dragon has always celebrated strength and masculinity -- overcoming a great, practically invincible adversary. Such a scene has inspired countless tales such as The Hobbit.

Myths and legends have more or less remained consistent. When maps were first being made, uncharted areas were marked "Here Be Dragons" in fear of the unknown. In popular folklore from both ends of the world, dragons are known to be wiser and more intelligent than people; thus, they usually know what man wants in order to lure him to his side. Gold? You bet. Princesses? Damn right. 

Dragon Age: Inquisition - enough said

Dragons are seen as a majestic emblem of the world of the unknown, and a fundamental force of nature, sin, and power that has to be reckoned with. Some myths claim dragons had taught mankind to speak. They're multi-talented, witty, and uncertain. Some of them breathe flames, and some breathe frost. Who are they really?

Dungeons and Dragons -- one of the most popular tabletop RPGs to ever exist -- features dragons galore. This concept grew so popular among the epic fantasy and RPG genres that it found itself incorporated in some of the world's bestsellers, not surprisingly. This culture has changed our perspective of them from adversaries to powerful allies. It represents a concept, perhaps, of something we fear or once did, and our satisfying ability to conquer it. 

Nostalgia *sigh*

There are countless games featuring dragons as either bosses or allies, and many of them sold like hotcakes: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the entire riveting Dragon Age series, Spyro the Dragon, the Dragon's Dogma series, and World of Warcraft. And this is just the cream of the crop. Even Pokemon's Charizard is, essentially, one of them. Nintendo's Bowser -- yes, I know he's a Koopa -- is also reminiscent of a dragon. I mean, fireballs, lava, princesses ... ring any bells?

Dragon's Dogma - he's cute tho

But since the 18th century, popular thinkers such as Diderot were astounded by the fact that there were simply "too many fabulous stories of dragons". And yet unlike vampires and werewolves, for instance, the dragon has not taken its toll on tiring its audience. And this leaves a market wide open for gamers who want to fight, befriend, or play as dragons in various broad themes -- the opportunities are endless.

I don't know about you, but I hope for more games starring my favorite pseudo-reptile!

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4 Frugal Ways to Get By as a Broke Gamer https://www.gameskinny.com/6wk4q/4-frugal-ways-to-get-by-as-a-broke-gamer https://www.gameskinny.com/6wk4q/4-frugal-ways-to-get-by-as-a-broke-gamer Tue, 16 Jan 2018 11:49:31 -0500 Spongehoe

Video games are probably among the pricier things in life, and if you're anything like me (i.e. a broke college student scrambling for forgotten loose change in my jeans), you've probably struggled keeping up with new releases and consoles because you just don't have the money. I've recently found myself in a position where I can no longer afford to play whatever I want whenever I want, and it's a real bummer.

There's no shame in being low-budget or simply economizing on your lifestyle and entertainment expenses, but if gaming is your passion, it can be hard to keep up with the rapidly growing market -- and the skyrocketing prices. It's just plain depressing to walk by a new set of PS4s and feel excluded from some of the major games hitting the shelves.

From my personal experience and that of other seasoned gamers, I bring to you four (legal) tips to game on a tight budget.

1. PC saves the day

While some may argue that a PC alone is as expensive as some consoles or even more so, its obvious multi-use function often goes forgotten. Often, games released for most all platforms are released on PC as well (unless you're an avid Nintendo fan, in which case you can always sport an emulator), and it's standard knowledge that PC games are relatively cheaper than their console counterparts. That's right, the exact same game, sold at least 10 to 15 dollars CHEAPER. PC gamers get all the fun -- the sales, the variety, the sweet graphics, the control flexibility, the mods. Upgrading a PC is far simpler than upgrading a console, and far more affordable. Moreover, in a cultural sense, MMOs and RPGs are just known to be best played hunched over a keyboard -- although I would advise to straighten up regardless!

2. Keep an eye out for annual sales 

I've managed to salvage my savings simply by buying my long-awaited games on Steam during their 50-75% off sales. These sales range from season to season, and the major ones pop up in the late autumn and early winter. You can sometimes buy three games at the equivalent of a single commercially sold game during the year. Another great option are Humble Bundle deals -- they support charity, offer multi-platform options, and feature dramatic sales on best-selling games. It's flexible, appealing, and worth an investment.

That said, the PlayStation Network has yearly holiday sales and Flash weekend sales, and Xbox drops their prices during Christmastime to an average of 40% off most games. Unfortunately, Steam doesn't cross over with other consoles, again pointing to the fact that sometimes you'll have to sacrifice the pleasure of a Dual Shock and be content with a computer monitor for the love of gaming. At the end of the day, you can play Fallout 4 on PC just as well as you can on the PlayStation. (Or you can get the best of both worlds.)

3. Purchase them used or rent away

If you live in the States or Canada, GameStop and EB Games sell ridiculously cheap games that have been pre-owned. There is also the option of trading in your old games and getting a decent discount on games you purchase in the same store. Luckily, the games reach across all platforms and are usually in great condition.

Otherwise, online classified sites can be used to buy, sell, or trade games (ahem, fond high school memories of meeting up at metro stations to trade with strangers) but at the risk of buying a hack. Make sure the source is trusted, and examine the discs closely for any damage. 

Luckily, some stores also offer rental options, but this has diminished in the past years. Renting a game is great and economical because it's a one-time experience, and if the game stinks, you can return it without frowning about the fortune of money wasted. 

4. Wait, for the love of God

Good things come to those who wait. In simple terms, be patient -- that console you so desperately want or that brand-new game that seems to hit off 5-star reviews across the web will soon be within reach of your budget. It's a matter of months for some, years for others. The Witcher 3 will be just as enjoyable a game two years from now as it is today. Trust me, an unopened game will never go stale. 

---

Hope these tips come to some use among those of us who are tuition-riddled students or unemployed at the moment. Sometimes it suffices to sit back and watch a walk-through while feeling terrible about yourself, but nobody should have to subject themselves to game abstinence. Let's face it, that's an oath none of us could keep. 

 

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Top 5 Reasons PUBG's Battle Royale Is a Better Experience than Fortnite https://www.gameskinny.com/2x06j/top-5-reasons-pubgs-battle-royale-is-a-better-experience-than-fortnite https://www.gameskinny.com/2x06j/top-5-reasons-pubgs-battle-royale-is-a-better-experience-than-fortnite Fri, 12 Jan 2018 09:02:51 -0500 Sergey_3847

PUBG is better than Fortnite -- hear me out. 

When comparing two of the current most popular Battle Royale games on the market -- Fortnite and PUBG -- it's a good idea to separate the two in terms of what they offer and what purpose they were designed to serve in the first place.

Common between both games are the basic rules. Fortnite and PUBG both pit a hundred players against each other on a map with different locations. The goal is the same: to get as much good loot as possible and to survive the last-man-standing battle.

But what are the differences? Well, the five listed below should be enough to prove to you that PUBG is the clearly better than Fortnite when it comes to the Battle Royale formula.

1. Need Weapons? We've Got Plenty

A PUBG submachine gun lies on wooden boards

The range and variety of weapons in PUBG is much more sophisticated than it is in Fortnite. Every weapon in PUBG not only looks realistic but also carries all the original weapon stats, such as fire rate, recoil, magazine capacity, etc. The realism of PUBG weaponry is clearly visible in the physics of each weapon's behavior, down to the smallest details.

In PUBG, you can attach different scopes, grips, and other cool add-ons to different weapon models, while in Fortnite, this option is currently unavailable. You can have so much fun trying out various attachments and figuring out the most optimal configuration for your character in PUBG.

2. PUBG Has a More Diverse Map

PUBG Map

If you look at Fortnite's map, all you see is one huge piece of land with some variety in its locations but, to be honest, a total lack of truly great urban settings. In PUBG, on the other hand, both maps, including the latest desert map Miramar, have additional smaller islands. This makes PUBG's maps so much more exciting and explorable than those found in Fortnite.

Now let's get back to urban settings -- there are plenty of those on both maps in PUBG. More than that, they look great and have genuinely clever design. In Fortnite, players can build their own structures, but that is such a distraction when all you want to do is shoot, shoot, shoot.

3. Cartoony or Realistic? Your Choice

It's really impossible to define objectively which of the two styles is better -- that of cartoonish Fortnite or realistic PUBG. It really is a matter of taste. But if you think about the whole idea of shooters, wouldn't it be more appropriate to give maximum realism to your game? It probably would.

The realism of PUBG totally immerses you into the combat, and you don't really care about flashy images or funny-looking explosions when your character's life is at stake. It really is all about the experience, and the realistic approach is definitely a winning strategy here.

4. Vehicles

Three green jeeps line up along a road in PUBG

Fortnite has vehicles, but you can't drive them. Why not? Well, nobody knows, but PUBG has vehicles, and they're quite good at what they do. You can quickly get from one location to another or just escape the unwanted chasers.

On top of that, you have boats that let you travel to distant islands, which is a huge plus in my book. Can you imagine driving a boat in Fortnite? Of course you can, and it would be amazing. But it can't be done yet, so this alone makes PUBG so much better.

5. Intensity of the Last Circle

A PUBG player takes cover behind a tree

It's hard to identify exactly why it feels like this, but the intensity of the last shootout in PUBG is far greater than that in Fortnite. it is probably due to more realistic environments and physics.

Every time you survive long enough to stand against the last few survivalists, it just gets your blood boiling in PUBG, while in Fortnite, it does feel fun, but not as rewarding.

And if you do get to be the last man standing, you will be congratulated with the famous "Winner Winner Chicken Dinner" catchphrase, which is a really nice, distinct touch that Fortnite lacks.

---

A few other things could be mentioned as well, such as sound design and customization options, but for now, these five reasons should give you a good idea of why PUBG is better than Fortnite. Leave feedback in the comments section below if you'd like to give your two cents on the PUBG versus Fortnite debate.

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Razrwing Fuses Gaming with Apparel for a Unique Interactive Experience https://www.gameskinny.com/ux7ud/razrwing-fuses-gaming-with-apparel-for-a-unique-interactive-experience https://www.gameskinny.com/ux7ud/razrwing-fuses-gaming-with-apparel-for-a-unique-interactive-experience Thu, 11 Jan 2018 13:28:49 -0500 Kat De Shields

When most of us think about gaming, consoles, PCs, and mobile phones come to mind. As Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) continue to grow, new possibilities and nuances of the gaming experience are now arriving on the market. Razrwing, a Georgia-based company, is working to expand your gaming experience to include the clothes you wear.

Through blending augmented reality and mixed reality, Razrwing is carving a new niche in the gaming space. The company is building an interactive game that is linked to clothing and accessories. If you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around it, take Pokemon GO’s AR capabilities with Hot Topic’s edgy designs and spin it into a story-based gaming experience that takes place in-app and on apparel.

As players collect different clothing items featuring symbols from the game, others will be able to see gaming components come to life in AR.

Players will be able to see in-game avatars and battle actions using their phones.

 

A larger view of the battle animation that takes place on the clothing.

“We want to create the next stage and bring tomorrow’s entertainment and gaming to retail,” said Gian Ruggeri, Razrwing’s Chief Operating Officer and Director. “Our mission is to set a new standard through wearable interactive entertainment technology using AR on phones, MR via headsets, and holograms.”

What started as a concept in 2003 grew into a business venture in 2008. The core game now contains an interactive battle system and character selection to support this interactive adventure. Character personalities are based on traits like aggression, obsession, seduction, and attention and serve as representations of different factions. At the time of this writing, there are four characters in the game, but the roster will expand as the game evolves.

As you encounter other people playing the game and collecting apparel, you’ll either have a hostile, friendly, or neutral interaction with them. Each interaction is paired with an AR-based reaction that is linked to the gamer’s clothing. As you play, you can battle other players for purchase points, and the decisions you make in-game will influence the future storyline, which faction reigns supreme, and the direction of the Razrwing brand.

Though initial plans involve seeing the in-game events via a smartphone or tablet, future plans include creation of glasswear or a headset for a hands-free experience. Razrwing is currently partnering with Focusteck and Skinit to complete a prototype of the game.

If you want to know more about how this company is gamifying the clothing industry, check out the company's website or support Razrwing on Patreon. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more gaming technology news and announcements.

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Blood, Sweat, and Pixels -- A Look at the Fascinating & Frightening World of Game Development https://www.gameskinny.com/zrwit/blood-sweat-and-pixels-a-look-at-the-fascinating-frightening-world-of-game-development https://www.gameskinny.com/zrwit/blood-sweat-and-pixels-a-look-at-the-fascinating-frightening-world-of-game-development Wed, 10 Jan 2018 11:50:15 -0500 Erroll Maas

When we think of video games, sometimes we wonder how they were made and how all of these ideas came to fruition. What many of us don't realize, however, is just how many factors go into the  creation of a modern video game and how each of them ultimately determines the length, cost, and tools necessary for a game to come to life and eventually be released.

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made by Kotaku News Editor Jason Schreier tells the stories behind the development of some of the most notable games of the last decade, and how money, fear of cancellation, crunch time, and development team size, among other things, all have a momentous effect on how a game is developed.

The Bigger the Game, The Higher the Cost

From Kickstarter-funded games like Pillars of Eternity to first-party games like Uncharted 4, money is always one of the most important factors in video game development. According to Schreier, the standard burn rate for a game studio can be around $10,000 per person per month, including salaries, health insurance, and office rent, among other things. When you have a hundred or more people working on one game for a large studio, the amount of money that it takes is evidently much greater than that of a smaller development studio. There's also no accurate way to estimate the cost of each feature of a game before it starts production, so some publishers have to gamble, not knowing how much money or time it will  take for a game to be made, if it will see a delay, run into other development problems, or have to be canceled somewhere down the line

The information Schreier provides about the actual cost of video games helps us understand a bit more about how much various games cost to us as consumers. If a game takes a hefty amount of money to make but after release receives negative reception and low sales, then the money spent won't be made back, which is a problem for both the publisher and developer.

Constant Fear of Cancellation

Through interviews with several game developers, Schreier reveals that a worry with any game in development is that it can be canceled at any point in time. These cancellations can arise from a number of setbacks. The publisher might decide they don't want to help fund the project anymore, a Kickstarter campaign may fail, or the development team could decide the game isn't going where they originally thought it would or wanted it to, so they decide to work on something else. How a game is canceled can also greatly depend on what type of game it is and how much money/resources are being poured into it.

In the case of the now gone-but-not-forgotten Star Wars 1313, even during the beginning of development, when it was set to be connected to a proposed television series, there was some fear that the project would ultimately be canned after a certain amount of time. After having worked on it for so long, the developers were finally ready to show some of their game at E3 in 2012, even though by the time this was all said and done, the developers knew the demo was not the best representation of what the game was planned to turn into due to input from George Lucas. Development continued even in the months after Disney acquired LucasArts, and it wasn't until after the first few months that LucasArts was shut down, with the Star Wars 1313 team having to look for new jobs and never being able to finish the game they had been working so hard on for the past several years.

Schreier's observation of the tragedy of Star Wars 1313 and the pressure developers feel helps us sympathize more with developers and understand why some games have to be delayed, because most developers don't want their game to be released in what they see as an unfinished state. Going through several delays is a preferable alternative to complete cancellation, even if some fans get unnecessarily angry about it at times.

Crunch Is a Double-edged Sword

Crunch is an often-discussed problem in the video game industry, and while it's an important issue, it's unfortunately seen as a necessary evil by some when trying to get a game to release by a certain date. Through examining the development of big triple-A games like Uncharted 4 and Halo Wars, Schreier explores how crunch can benefit games but still be a detriment to those who work on them. What makes the discussion of this topic more fair-minded is that Schreier goes into how some developers enjoyed crunch because it helped them feel like they were making stupendous progress on a project they enjoyed working on, when not feeling fatigue or missing their loved ones due to how much of their life was taken up by their work.

One Developer versus Hundreds

When a game is going through development, the size of the development team is another significant factor in determining how much money and time it may take for the game to release. While triple-A games like Uncharted 4 and The Witcher 3 had hundreds of people on their team, indie games tend to have a fraction of that. For example, The Witcher 3 benefited from an entire Quest Department, whereas Stardew Valley had only one developer -- the creator, Eric Barone -- until the game started gaining traction and caught the attention of Chucklefish Games, bringing it some outside help. 

Learning about some of the key differences between indie and triple-A game development, and how the development of these games can still face similar types of problems despite their differences, is interesting to say the least. No matter which type of game you're a fan of, it really puts into perspective how different games can succeed, even when the end result is impossible to predict.

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels is available on Amazon both physically and digitally. An audio book version, narrated by Ray Chase (Final Fantasy XV) is also available.

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HRX 2018: Paladins Strike Hands-On Impressions https://www.gameskinny.com/olbnc/hrx-2018-paladins-strike-hands-on-impressions https://www.gameskinny.com/olbnc/hrx-2018-paladins-strike-hands-on-impressions Thu, 04 Jan 2018 18:26:58 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Let's get something out in the open before we go any further: I'm a big Paladins fan. In fact, it's probably my favorite competitive shooter of the last five years. Sure, it helps that I'm halfway decent at the game and don't die every three seconds, but it's also because Paladins is a damn fine shooter -- and a damn fun game to play. 

So when I finally got my hands on Paladins Strike at HRX 2018, I was pleased to see that it mostly takes the tried and true Paladins desktop formula and re-imagines it for that little computer you carry around in your pocket. Does that mean it's the perfect MOBA experience for mobile devices? Of course not. There are a few things that don't necessarily suit my fancy at first blush. But none of the negatives "ruin" the experience -- or even make it uncomfortable for that matter. 

The TL;DR? Paladins Strike may stumble a bit, but it ultimately forges the right balance between MOBA and shooter for a mobile audience -- something that's not necessarily easy to do.  

Starting up Paladins Strike, the first thing I noticed was that it was easy to move around. Although that's programming 101, some games get mobile touch controls completely wrong. However, the controls in PS are smooth and responsive. Running behind cover and maneuvering around walls and other obstacles wasn't difficult in the slightest. Although it took a minute or two to really get comfortable with playing Paladins with touch controls after dozens of hours using a mouse and keyboard, the scheme and movement parameters felt natural. 

Primary attacks, on the other hand, seemed a bit touchy and slightly counterintuitive. As much as I'll sit here at my ivory desk and praise the fluidity of the game's movement, shooting is a bit stiffer and problematic: moving your right thumb in a circular motion to shoot isn't always swift or easy. And having to press the primary attack button to fire your initial volley for characters like Viktor is fine and dandy, but then having to press it again after every reload is a bit tiresome -- especially when holding the LMB on Paladins' desktop version keeps firing even after reloading. 

Sure, it's a small gripe, but it's worth pointing out all the same -- and one veteran players will notice. 

Another change revolves around HP. Health pickups are strewn around the map this time around, meaning you won't auto heal while hiding or from abstaining from combat like you can in Paladins desktop. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, introducing health pickups does two things I really enjoy: it gives PS an old-school vibe and it modifies the base game's strategy, keeping you in the action longer and making engagements more interesting. Hiding has its perks, but frantically running toward a health item while an enemy's on your tail is invigorating. 

And that's something magnified by the game's maps, which are (reasonably) large and full of interesting twists, turns, and barriers that funnel action down specific lanes. Sporting a fixed, isometric camera that varies in position per map, Paladins Strike keeps you on your toes by obfuscating your enemy behind clever angles and in-game assets. Sure, it can be difficult to spot enemies at a distance or see enemies charging down lanes since you don't have the same field of view you have in an FPS -- which can sometimes maybe lead to inopportune deaths -- but it acts as a good stand-in for the verticality found in the game's desktop cousin.

If you're not used to MOBAs in general (or maybe have poor eyesight), you could easily lose track of your character in some of the larger confrontations in Paladins Strike. At times, action turns into a muddy mess of characters, explosions, and special abilities that can be hard to visually sift through. It's not a large hurdle to overcome -- and considering how fast-paced Paladins is in general, isn't really surprising -- but perhaps that can be tweaked a bit before the game's official release. 

During our demo, there were 20 champions readily available covering all of Paladins' classes. I didn't get to play them all, but Viktor, Pip, and Tyra felt great in the mobile environment across match types, which fall into one of three 5v5 modes. Summons sees players capturing objectives on the map; Siege sees players completing the same Paladins Siege mode we're already familiar with; and Deathmatch sees players racing toward 30 eliminations as fast as they can. 

From what I can tell, you'll be able to get daily rewards, gain levels, and almost everything else you've come to do in Paladins. This mobile version of the game might be MOBA focused and play a bit more like SMITE than you'd expect, but it's still Paladins at its core -- and I'm excited to see where it goes from here. 

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7 Reasons Why We Need More Female Protagonists in AAA Games https://www.gameskinny.com/6m7el/7-reasons-why-we-need-more-female-protagonists-in-aaa-games https://www.gameskinny.com/6m7el/7-reasons-why-we-need-more-female-protagonists-in-aaa-games Tue, 02 Jan 2018 19:00:01 -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/h/e/a/heavensword-101110569292-640x360-0f636.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/heavensword-101110569292-640x360-0f636.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175959","description":"
Can Be Strong Role Models to the Younger Audience
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Today, many games inspire our young girls and inform them about gender equality and about how strong they are. Indie games have begun tackling this topic in great depth over recent years, and this is promising. There are so many games that can be made to portray a strong, smart, and astonishing beauty that inspires women everywhere. 

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---

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Strong female protagonists in games can make a huge difference, and with characters such as Lara Croft and Horizon: Zero Dawn's Aloy, we can see just how inspirational they can be. 

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What are your opinions about more female lead protagonists in gaming? Let us know in the comments.

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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/t/u/m/tumblr-static-tumblr-static-filename-640-7286e.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/u/m/tumblr-static-tumblr-static-filename-640-7286e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175958","description":"
Best of Both Worlds
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Female characters can be portrayed as a strong hero or a kind and generous hero that protects her friends. This is exactly what makes a female protagonist unique. They can use feelings anytime and not be seen as too emotional or vulnerable unlike if they were males. What's more, female characters in games are often more agile than males and demonstrate good flexibility in 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/2/7/5/2756374-2003757720-ellie-412f2.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/2/7/5/2756374-2003757720-ellie-412f2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175957","description":"
Emotions Are Better 
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Female characters are often better with emotions. Male protagonists in games commonly display little to no emotion; they usually have a line they don't cross for fear of being looked at as weak. Female characters, on the other hand, can express feelings without being judged as harshly. Female characters bring the game an intense feel of love and compassion.

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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/i/v/y/ivy1-df4f8.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/v/y/ivy1-df4f8.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175956","description":"
More than a Sexual Object
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There is more to a female character than her sexual appearance. Lara Croft was beautiful, but she did have on enough clothes to cover her body. Female characters are portrayed with little clothing to attract attention. There needs to be another way to keep the attention of players on the character. Strength and agility can go a long way rather than using partial nudity to keep attention.

"},{"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/1/7/5/17545629-new-final-fantasy-album-features-100-3f26f9e9-0881f.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/1/7/5/17545629-new-final-fantasy-album-features-100-3f26f9e9-0881f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175954","description":"
Same Old Clichéd Love Interest 
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It's cute but not necessary all the time. Most games use females as love interests or supporting characters. I enjoyed Final Fantasy X's love story with Tidus and Yuna, but I got extremely excited when Final Fantasy X-2 featured an all-female lead cast. Something about playing as a fierce and strong woman makes me want to play more games with female protagonists. The love stories are great, but they get old. There are just as many women gamers who are ready to see female characters take the lead.

"},{"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/e/p/1epjabkcs9qiqoe7fcqucuw-f0d30.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/e/p/1epjabkcs9qiqoe7fcqucuw-f0d30.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175953","description":"
Inspirational 
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Inspiration is exactly what I got from owning my very first PlayStation when I was eight years old. I immediately fell in love with Tomb Raider and Lara Croft. She was beautiful, smart, athletic, and adventurous. Lara was the face of a strong female protagonist back then. I looked up to her and wanted to be just like her when I grew up. Female protagonists inspire young girls and women to be their best selves and to have confidence that they can do anything. I could never forget Lara's adventure because she was a woman with so much courage, and I couldn't have felt that way if the protagonist were a male.

"},{"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-1maxresdefault-71da3-ed475.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-1maxresdefault-71da3-ed475.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175952","description":"
Diversity 
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This is a major issue everywhere, but don't we want it at least in our games? I think females create more diverse gameplay and atmosphere. Even bringing different races into games is far more entertaining. I enjoyed the chemistry between Chloe and Nadine in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Bringing female characters into games definitely shows that there are things they can do just as well as the male characters. Believe it or not, there are a lot of female gamers who look up to some of those female characters. It creates an impact on many women, and they see how strong females can be. This leads to another reason I feel we need more female protagonists.

"},{"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/7/8/0/780x447xwomen-video-games-smalljpgpagespeedic2j01ovcw06-a2c9e.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/7/8/0/780x447xwomen-video-games-smalljpgpagespeedic2j01ovcw06-a2c9e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175951","description":"

There are many reasons I relate better to a female protagonist rather than a male in video games. I'd like to see more female lead roles in games, especially in AAA games. So, here's a list of some of the reasons why we need more kick-ass female lead characters on the front page.

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Nintendo Switch Top 5 Features https://www.gameskinny.com/988e7/nintendo-switch-top-5-features https://www.gameskinny.com/988e7/nintendo-switch-top-5-features Sun, 31 Dec 2017 19:00:01 -0500 Lauren Harris

The Nintendo Switch is the seventh major gaming console released by Nintendo. Released with many features that helped lead to its current success and popularity, the Nintendo Switch has sold over 10 million units this year. This has surpassed the Wii U's sales and put the Nintendo Switch under a lot of Christmas trees this year. Now, let's see just what features Nintendo has brought with the Switch to provide entertainment to many families around the world. 

Joy-Cons

Among the many amazing features, our first feature are the versatile Joy-Cons. Players can use these to attach to the device and play it like a handheld system, or they can detach the Joy-Cons and use them like one would use controllers with a standard gaming system. No other gaming console lets you use your controllers to also control the system as a handheld device. The Switch has many flexible features, and the Joy-Con gives you total control.

HD Rumble

This feature brings a bit of movement to your gaming experience. The HD Rumble makes players feel like they're immersed into the game they're playing. Nintendo wanted to almost replicate the feel of actual touch to create an engaging gameplay experience. The IR Motion camera located indeed the Joy-Con senses the shape, movement, and distance of objects.

Shared Experiences

Now that your gameplay is immersive and the vibrations are pulling you closer to every pixel of colorful brilliance, why not share your experience with the world? Share the fun with a gaming party, or enjoy multiplayer gaming with friends. Nintendo allows family and friends to team up against each other. Players can even play online with other Nintendo Switch gamers.

Parental Controls

It's important to keep children's gaming monitored, and that's why a good feature Nintendo has for the Switch is Parental Controls. Nintendo makes this easy and hassle-free. They also allow parents to download the Parental Controls app that monitors:

  • What games your kids play
  • How long they can play
  • If they can post images to social media
Amiibo Support

This feature allows players to use Amiibo accessories to get in-game extras. They have to tap the Amiibo to the NFC touch point on the right Joy-Con controller. By utilizing the Amiibo figures, Nintendo brings a whole new light to integrating figurines into gaming.They can befriend the character that appears in the game. This will allow them to customize their gear, weapons, and settings to the Amiibo figure. It's a win-win for gamers who collect figures from the company. Nintendo thought outside the box for this system. They really wanted to use every sense, touch, or movement for the Switch and create a truly interactive and visually immersive gaming experience for everyone. 

There's also another small feature Nintendo Switch has when in handheld mode. It's called a UI Easter Egg. When unlocking the device from sleep mode, you have to click the left stick in or tap the left shoulder triggers three times to find the egg. 

Creating a console is one thing, but designing a home console to take with you makes life and gaming go hand in hand. Just the thought of playing your favorite game anywhere really separates Nintendo from its competitors. On top of all of these amazing features, this small bundle of joy will introduce Nintendo Switch Online in 2018. 

 

Conclusion

Nintendo could dominate 2018, and the Switch's unique features play a very important part in its functionality and appeal. Nintendo has done well to bring us a good console that brings everyone together. 

Why not invest in a Nintendo Switch and enjoy many of the fun and exciting features the Nintendo Switch has to offer?

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2007 vs 2017: A Decade in the Making https://www.gameskinny.com/x1xdc/2007-vs-2017-a-decade-in-the-making https://www.gameskinny.com/x1xdc/2007-vs-2017-a-decade-in-the-making Sun, 31 Dec 2017 14:15:34 -0500 H. Rhodes Hancock

Around a decade ago, I watched a video on GameTrailers called the Top 10 Years of Gaming, and the #1 was 2007. Considering that this video was made and uploaded at the tail end of 2007, it almost seemed presumptuous to call a year that was just on its way out the “Best Year in Gaming.” Now here we are, 10 years later, and people are already declaring 2017 to be another “Best Year in Gaming.” And you know what, both are right.

2007 and 2017 are two great years in the history of video games. 2007 gave us Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, Portal, Modern Warfare, BioShock, and Super Mario Galaxy. 2017 gave us Cuphead, NierAutomata, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Breath of the Wild, Persona 5, and Super Mario Odyssey. And those are just all I can name off the top of my head. The sheer volume of quality games that came out in both years is amazing.

However, in retrospect, it wasn’t just the quality and the quantity of the games released that made it a historic year for the medium. It was how those games changed the landscape.

[Image courtesy of BioShock Wiki]

Take BioShock for example. The ideas it helped popularize have become so commonplace that its impact almost feels subdued. The way it uses audio logs to tell you its story, or how you are given moral choices that will impact the outcome of the game, were brought into the mainstream by BioShock and have become mainstays of video game design to the point that those once revolutionary mechanics feel clichéd.

How about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare? Not only did it break the military shooter subgenre out of World War II and into the modern era, but it also promoted the perk system in multiplayer and (for better and for worse) the idea that single-player campaigns could be highly scripted, cinematic roller coaster rides where you are taken from one set piece to the next.

In fact, when you think about it, the franchises and trends that defined 2007 either reinvented themselves or were phased out. In 2007, the Assassin’s Creed franchise begins. In 2017, the franchise gets a soft reboot with Assassins Creed: Origins. In 2007, the Call of Duty franchise does a huge shakeup by going to the modern era after the World War II setting begins to grow stale. In 2017, the Call of Duty franchise decides to go back to the World War II setting after the modern era setting grows stale. In 2007, Half-Life 2: Episode 2 ends in a huge cliffhanger that will ultimately set-up Half-Life 3. In 2017, Half-Life 3 is released in the form of a plot summary on Pastebin.

2017 feels like a new chapter is currently being written. The Nintendo Switch is blurring the lines between handheld games and console games. The surprise success of Nier: Automata saved Platinum Games. SEGA’s long-standing Yakuza franchise finally broke out of its niche. Cuphead surpassed the sales of the more heavily marketed Star Wars Battlefront II by a huge margin. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild reinvented the open-world mechanic.

The game industry is always changing. But this past year, just like 10 years ago, is where we are going to see the roots of many defining trends for years to come. Games will start taking cues from Breath of the Wild and how it constructed its world, while companies will begin to start assessing the Nintendo Switch and its potential after its first lucrative year.

What do you think? Are we gonna see some trends emerge from this year like we did from 2007's releases? What's it gonna be like reading this article in 2027? Let us know in the comments.

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The Coolest Google Doodle Games You Missed in 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/mruoh/the-coolest-google-doodle-games-you-missed-in-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/mruoh/the-coolest-google-doodle-games-you-missed-in-2017 Sat, 30 Dec 2017 14:00:02 -0500 Lauren Harris

There are many interactive Google Doodle games out there, many of which celebrate a particular holiday or important person. Here are just a few of the Google Doodle games that we enjoyed in 2017. 

Pangolin Love 

Valentine's Day 2017

This Valentine's Day-inspired game is about a pangolin that travels to Ghana, India, China, and the Philippines. He wants to express his love to his sweetheart and devises many ways to show how much he cares for her. Roll the pangolin through each country using the arrows on your keyboard, and jump over obstacles by clicking on the up arrow.

Celebrating 50 Years of Kids Coding

December 4, 2017

This Google Doodle commemorates the 50th anniversary of the introduction of kids' programming language. This fun game has you arrange pieces to move a bunny along different stages. It’s an easy program that allows kids to understand the basics of programming and what it consists of.

ICC Champions Trophy 2017

June 1, 2017

Google celebrates the 2017 ICC Championship Trophy by allowing users to play their tap-and-click game. Play the game as a cricket and hit the baseball as a cricket. You just use your finger to slide down on the wicket to hit the ball. This was a nice fun way to celebrate the ICC Championship. 

Fischinger

June 22, 2017

This Doodle celebrates the 117th birthday of Oskar Fischinger. He was a German-American animator, filmmaker, and painter known for creating abstract musical animation before computer graphics and music videos were popular. Here, Google put out a Doodle that lets you create music. Tap the different shapes to create different sounds as you click. 

44th Anniversary of the Birth of Hip Hop

August 11, 2017

This Doodle celebrates the anniversary of the birth of hip hop. In 1973, at just age 18, a Jamaican-American DJ named Kool Herc threw a back-to-school jam in the Bronx, New York. He didn't play full songs; he just played their instruments in sections. His friend got the crowd excited with just a microphone. Thus, hip hop was born. This Doodle allows players to scratch different records by tapping and clicking on the corresponding buttons and records.

Google is very creative when it comes to celebrating holidays or acknowledging so many people who have made history. Giving its users something special for every occasion just makes you appreciate the little things. These are some of the coolest Doodle games I personally missed this year. What are some of the Google games you missed in 2017? 

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Best Indie Games of 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/ej6p6/best-indie-games-of-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/ej6p6/best-indie-games-of-2017 Fri, 29 Dec 2017 16:33:01 -0500 Jeffrey Rousseau

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So here we are with my indie games of the year. Now, let me tell you that this year has seen a lot of game releases. These are but a few within that grand ocean. Also, there's nothing wrong with liking triple-A titles, but I feel that if you stick to them alone, you'll miss some real gems in the world of gaming.

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Do you agree with this list? Do you not agree with this list? Let us know in the comments section below.

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1. Danmaku Unlimited 3

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So here we are: The number-one indie title is Danmaku Unlimited 3. Now, this isn't the only shmup mentioned on this list. It is, however, the best, based upon how pure it is. This game is one of the best-designed indie titles and examples of its genre.

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The game takes place across five stages where you'll shoot down a large number of ships. The title features the smoothest of controls. There's a variety of difficulty modes to appease everyone of every skill level. The sprite work of your ship, enemies, bosses, and the stages themselves is highly detailed. Boss battles are nerve racking and demand your best. You can literally play this forever because you have your high score -- and the world's -- to beat.

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The game features an amazing rock soundtrack. I could mention more, but it bears mentioning that this was made by one person. Danmaku Unlimited 3 is available for PC, Android, and iOS.

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2. Drifting Lands

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Is there such a thing as an RPG shmup? If one doesn't exist formally, I would like to present Drifting Lands. Drifting Lands is a title based upon a distant future and a new age of exploration. You are a pilot tasked with protecting a caravan through both known and unknown space.

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Here, you'll find a fully fleshed-out narrative based upon the perils of futuristic exploration. You'll have a choice to use one of three ships; each focuses on a particular play style to suit any player.

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Now, your performance is based on your ship's equipment as well as your skillset. Of course, this is all well and good, but you still have to survive bullet hell and blow up thousands to progress your story. Did I mention that the soundtrack couldn't be any better?

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3. Cuphead

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Retro-inspired games aren't dead, friends. In fact, the best place to find them is on the indie market. To that end, we have Cuphead, a game inspired by the animation of the 1930s and mostly old-time jazz music.

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The game is also a callback to old-time games like Gunstar Heroes and Contra. Stages are pretty unforgiving, and bosses are ruthless. It's rewardingly difficult and a must-play for hardcore fans. More importantly, it's great to see a title that is so old-school in design be appreciated as this has. Cuphead is available for Xbox One and PC.

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4. Battle Chef Brigade

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 An indie title that was slow cooking for years. The wait, however, was worth it. Battle Chef Brigade is a mix of genres that come together beautifully. It's part adventure, puzzle, RPG, and cooking game. 

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What is most enjoyable about the game is the wealth of battle options. Well, I mean to say cooking battle options. You can focus on a variety of tactics, each with its own strength and weakness. It's great to know you can serve up defeat to a foe any way you see fit.

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The title is presented as an episodic story of a young lady becoming a battle chef. The game's difficulty/story escalates naturally as the cooking competitions get higher stakes. Also, the cast of characters is so endearing and helps flesh out the story so well that you want everyone to have screentime. Battle Chef Brigade is available on PC and Nintendo Switch.

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5. Nighthaw-X3000

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Nighthaw-X3000 is, at its simplest, a shmup -- a shmup that is very much inspired by the 1980s. Much like that time period, the game is very set in its particular aesthetics.

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You play as a reluctant pilot facing court-martial. Why? Well, aliens have invaded Earth and are threatening his downtime with liquor, so he's all too eager to risk losing his job to save the booze, er, the planet. 

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The game features stages and visuals you'd swear were ripped from ads. Stages are pastel-colored, and the game's music sounds like it belongs in Miami Vice. 

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You can collect power-ups to help you reach a new high score and stand a better chance. Also, did I mention that the soundtrack is awesome? Nighthaw-X3000 is available for PC.

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6. Beat The Game 

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Beat The Game is perhaps one of the weirdest games I played all year. A music producer find himself in a strange alternate world after a small bike accident. What follows is a bit hard to describe.

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Beat, essentially, is the video game form of what it's like to make a song. What does that mean? Well, an artist will often find the sounds he/she needs from interacting with the world at large. So, Beat will find tunes and songs from objects and people you bump into. Each discovery is meaningful and quite strange.

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Ultimately, you are tasked with putting on a performance with the sounds you've collected within the surreal sandbox. Beat is a journey all fans of music should experience. Beat The Game is available for iOS and Android.

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7. Toukiden 2

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If you've never played a monster hunting title, you're missing out on quite the experience, and there's no better place to start than with Toukiden 2.

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Your current circumstances ask that you help defeat demons to keep the land safe. Your quest isn't a lonely one, as you'll be joined by some very colorful characters.

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You also have an array of weapons you can us to fight. Do you like big swords? Or maybe you want to punch things out with gauntlets? Whatever you like, you'll find them available. 

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You'll find yourself regularly in strange lands and up against some larger-than-life enemies. You'll be driven by a narrative that'll continue to ask you why you and the demons are there. Toukiden 2 is available for PS3, PS4, PS Vita, and PC.

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8. Gundam Versus

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Gundam Versus exists in a weird place. The franchise is popular, anime-wise; the games, however, aren't that popular here in the West. So with the release of this title, we have a game that celebrates the franchise's history and gives people robot-on-robot action.

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Each unit plays differently and has their own set of abilities. Players can play a robust campaign and take part in online multiplayer matches with other players. The game may not blow you away, but it'll give you a competent robot-based action game. Gundam Versus is available on the PlayStation 4.

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9. Egglia: Legend of the Red Cap

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In my honest opinion, Egglia: Legend of the Red Cap may be the best JRPG you'll find on mobile released this year. It's a spiritual successor to Secret of Mana in all but name. So what that means is that it plays and feels like a classic.

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The game is ridiculously cute and bright. It features a simple format; you'll explore stages and slowly expand the world. In battle, you'll fight off wild monsters with swords, magic, and/or whimsical spirits -- all while discovering the mysteries of the world. 

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As a mobile game, you'll be rewarded with bonuses for playing daily. The game has a very cute and heartwarming story to boot. Egglia is available for iOS and Android.

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10. Battle Chasers: Nightwar

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In a year where we've seen many RPGs, I found Battle Chasers: Nightwar to be pretty unique, which is saying a lot since RPGs tend to be more than a little homogeneous. 

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Battle Chasers, in a nutshell, was built with modern sensibilities. It allows you to save anywhere. You can also tackle dungeons at higher difficulties for better treasure. These are but a few of the reasons why it stands out.  

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The gameplay is challenging and in-depth to the point where you have to always plan accordingly. The title also features a unique story penned by the same man behind the comic series upon which it's based.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/da6cdb08bd04bf2c8a0052bea900e7ad.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/da6cdb08bd04bf2c8a0052bea900e7ad.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11766","description":"

2017 has been a pretty good year for games. There's no denying that fact. There's so many games that release within a year that it's hard to keep up -- I can barely keep up myself. With all there is to offer, triple-A titles take up the limelight, understandably. 

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Now, I'm not saying the big-name stuff is bad. I'm just a fan of the little-known guys, so it's no secret that here at GameSkinny, I'm an indie/niche game aficionado. I feel that particular landscape tends to cover the path less traveled creatively. So to that end, here's my top ten list of indie/niche titles you shouldn't miss out on.

"}]]]>
Adventures with Tobuscus: A Chat with Toby Turner https://www.gameskinny.com/0qshs/adventures-with-tobuscus-a-chat-with-toby-turner https://www.gameskinny.com/0qshs/adventures-with-tobuscus-a-chat-with-toby-turner Thu, 28 Dec 2017 17:15:00 -0500 Kat De Shields

If you watch any of Toby Turner's vlogs, Tobuscus Adventures, songs, or literal trailers, at some point or another I'm sure the following question has crossed your mind: "Is he that energetic in real life?"

Let me answer that for you. Yes. 

With more than 14.7 million subscribers across his three channels, Toby Turner (Tobuscus) is one of the most prominent YouTubers on the Internet. An accomplished comedian and musician, Toby writes his own content and composes original songs (or parodies popular ones). As you sift through his content, you might be surprised how much of his work you've already seen, be it on YouTube, in a mobile game, on the iTunes store, or in Cartoon Network's The Annoying Orange

I recently chatted with Toby to talk about his work, tips for aspiring YouTubers, and projects on the horizon. 

GameSkinny: To get things started, give me a lesser-known fact about you.

Toby Turner: A doctor accidentally pulled out one of my ear drums when I was a kid. I had allergies, so they put tubes in my ears to drain them. One day, my doctor looked into my ear and said, “Hmmm, your son’s been putting beads into his ears.”

My mom’s like, “What?”

So the doctor reaches in, pulls the tube out, and ripped out a chunk of my ear drum. My mom’s like, “I think that’s his eardrum,” and the doctor’s like, “So it is!” ... and he moved away and changed his name.

GS: Whoa! So do you have hearing problems because of that?

TT: It's not all that bad; I’m not totally deaf. My right ear just isn’t as good. They did surgery where they took skin from behind my ear and just shoved it in there, and my body accepted it. I don't know how my body was like, “Alright just give me some anything, anything you find, just shove that in.” It kind of replaced itself.

GS: If I was that doctor, I would have definitely moved away and changed my name, too.

TT: Of course. He changed it to like, Blade. I’ve always wanted to change my name to Blade. One day. Costs like $500 though. I’ve looked into it.

GS: When you were little, did you always want to be a comedian and musician, or was that something that evolved over time?

TT: In school I was a nerd, and I didn’t have a lot of friends. I found out that I could just see ... funny stuff, like that kid in Sixth Sense. I would try and make the class laugh, and eventually, it became this battle to constantly keep the students and the teachers laughing. I usually didn't get in trouble, but there were two teachers that ended up not really enjoying me in the classroom.

This one teacher failed me for trying to be funny. That didn’t really stop me from making jokes, but I did find out because he didn’t like me, he was grading me very harshly. He failed almost everything I was doing.

I sat next to my friend Ebraheim. He's smart. Super smart. This kid won the national science fair, and he created a coating for hypodermic needles to make them last three times longer. He invented stuff that has generated billions of dollars. This kid is smart. So, I sat next to him and completely copied his test. And I turned it in. He got 110%, and I got a 70%. I’m like, dude.

So after I took the test -- and you could get in trouble for this -- I got my grade back. I took my test and his test up to the teacher, and I’m like:

“Okay, can you tell me why he got a 110% and I got a 70% on this? Just check out the answers. Just pay attention to how similar what we wrote is.” It was pretty identical. My teacher sounded like Kermit the Frog, but he looked like Harry Caray.   

“Well, I can see what you did. In your case, you earned a 70%, and in his case he earned 110%.”

But, back to your original question.

I found out I could be funny, and I kept that in my arsenal. One day I made my friend laugh so hard, and made myself laugh also, by pulling a prank on a buddy of mine. I laughed so hard I was sore for days, literally days. I thought, if I can make other people do that, that would be the greatest feeling. That’s probably my favorite memory. Laughing that hard. In that moment, I realized I want to make people do that.

GS: I would say you succeed in doing that. I was watching your 21 Hydrants video, and the whole office was like, are you alright? I was choking I was laughing so hard.

TT: Thank you! I really enjoyed making that. I actually saw 21 Pilots in concert before I made that. They’re so good live that I had to make a parody, just so I can put that paint on my neck.

GS: So, would you say your parodies are a tribute to things you really enjoy or admire?

TT: Oh yeah. I only parody stuff that I really like. I have so many parodies that I haven’t made. I took the song “It’s Too Late to Apologize” by One Republic and wrote out a parody for it. It’s an older song, but it starts out like:

You probably haven't heard this song in quite a while/And parodies depend on relevance to go viral/And this one has already been parodied into the ground ... anyways ... safe to say that I missed the window of ---”

I’m sorry, this is too long. I didn’t realize how long it takes to actually get to the chorus. The fun part is:

"It’s too late to parody. It’s too laaaaaaate."

So the whole joke is about how it’s too late to even parody that song because it’s been out for so long.

Parodies are fun. It has all the heart of the original song, and if you write the lyrics the right way, you get the same feeling packed in there plus laughter. 

GS: That’s awesome! What is your creative process like for the parodies or the Tobuscus Adventures videos?  Do you have any routines you follow or superstitious behavior like wearing a particular pair of socks in order to make a great video?

TT: I don’t really know. I make up funnier stuff when I don't have any sort of substance affecting my brain. If I wake up and start working on something and I don't have coffee, I don't know what it is, but I’m just so much more creative. I drink way too much coffee though, as you can probably tell from my energy level.

As for my process, I’ll sit down and make everything in order. If it’s a song, I’ll start at the very beginning and ask myself what I want to hear at the very beginning. Same with editing. I immediately want to start a project by creating something I know I can right away watch and say “Yeah this is good,” and then add to it. Through the whole process, like when I’m doing a literal trailer or something like that, I can watch the first 30 seconds of it and be like, “Oh yeah, this has to keep going.”

As for Tobuscus Adventures, I don't even know -- I wanted to make a cartoon, and it just exploded out. If I could make that into a whole cartoon or a real series, that would be the dream. Those things write themselves.

GS: You do cover a lot of territory, and you do a lot of different things. How do you maintain all of your channels and juggle all the content you create?

TT: For a long time I would isolate myself and just focus on making as much stuff as I could. Over time, I discovered a lot of it is trying to find the balance of what I need to do to make me happy versus what I have to do (and can do) to maintain a following.

I took some time off and I wrote a book about Tobuscus Adventures. It’s like Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets zombies, but it’s for a little bit of an older audience. I wrote it, and I didn’t realize how much work it is to write a book. I was working on it a lot over the past couple years, and I really couldn’t juggle a lot of stuff at that point. Now, I’m getting back to finding the core of the content I like that resonates with people but also stuff that makes me the happiest. I’m trying to focus on that more. A lot of music.

If you make something that you love, it’s weird, but it fuels you to make more of that. When you make something you love, you feel love. You find happiness in your art. I think that’s a very important part. When you’re doing a bunch of stuff that you don’t like, which is what life is -- a lot of stuff in life you’re not going to necessarily like -- but if you have one thing that really drives you, you get through everything else with ease.     

GS: You’ve been doing this for awhile, is it still fresh and new to you? How do you keep it new and enjoyable?

TT: It all starts with thinking of something that makes me laugh. A lot of my favorite stuff I haven’t even made, which is the worst. What happens is, if I have a joke that I think is really, really, really, good, like better than anything else, then I don’t want to make it simple. I want to make it as good as it can be. Sometimes I end up putting it into a box and never getting started on it.

I wrote a song called “Push” a couple years ago. It’s serious, and I don’t usually do stuff like that. It’s a completely different direction, and I didn’t know if it would resonate with my audience at all.

I didn’t want to release it until it sounded as good as I thought it should sound. It’s very sad. It’s about a breakup. Exploring different parts of things I enjoy, like writing and music, is a lot of fun, but I’ve never done any serious music. Right now, I’m really excited about the idea of getting into it.

I haven’t gotten bored of doing animations; I just don’t have animators right now. I only handle the writing and the voice-overs. Literal trailers are a bit different because I’m singing about a movie or video game. The trailer has to be for something I’m excited about, or it has to be so awesome that you can feel whoever made this trailer is a freakin’ badass artist. And then it moves me to want to sing lyrics to it. 

GS: What is one of the highlights of your career thus far?

TT: Getting interviewed by Snoop Dogg was pretty cool. I think he was Snoop Lion at the time. That was pretty awesome. I did a vlog with James Cameron -- he started the blog holding my phone.

GS: What advice would you give to aspiring YouTubers: One do and one don’t.

TT: Do: Find your voice. That’s super important. It comes from really hearing how the people you admire and look up to present themselves, and mixing all of the different spices and flavors into whatever your voice would become. Spend time on it. I guess that’s something that takes awhile to do, but if you make one video and you can watch it all the way through and say, “Yeah, that’s me,” that’s a good goal to have starting out. 

Don’t: Don’t give up. Don’t expect it to be a success instantly. Expect it to not. It takes time. No matter how brilliant your project is, it still takes time. It could take years. I think the most important thing is to find the thing that is completely true to yourself and harvest it for content. It’s like mining the diamond.

GS: If you could go back to the very beginning and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

TT: Don’t do it! (laughs). Keep a close-knit set of friends, and be a little less trusting and more selective/careful with the people I spend my time with. You kind of get mixed up in Los Angeles. When you go out there and you don’t really have anything and you figure stuff out, people tend to gravitate to you, and a lot of times, those are the wrong types of people.

You don’t need them in your life. You don’t need someone who is trying to get something from you. Because they’ll take advantage of you. Everybody goes through this type of thing to some extent. You experience success and people just kind of appear or are suddenly interested in being your friend. Now I get alarm bells and red flags, which would have been a nice instinct to have a long time ago.

GS: Where do you go from here? Any awesome new projects that you can tell us about?

TT: We have a video game coming out on Steam, and we’re testing it. It’s called Tobuscus Adventures: Wizards. It’s already on iOS and Android. It was for an indiegogo campaign I did years ago, and it took this long. I don’t think that’s right -- it should have happened faster, but at this point I’m like, dude, this has to happen. I’m performing a lot next year at conventions, too, so that should be fun. Look out for those.

GS: Closing thoughts or remarks?

TT: If anybody is making video games, I’m super great at voice-overs. Hire me!

If you're ever in search of a good belly laugh, Toby's channels offer a smorgasbord of giggle-inducing content. With an already robust portfolio and plans to expand in the gaming and writing markets, Toby isn't relinquishing his title as one of the most prominent YouTube personalities.

You can check out Toby's work on YouTube. Follow his video game playthroughs and commentary on TobyGames;, his daily vlogs on TobyTurner; or find Tobuscus Adventures, Literal Trailers, song parodies, and a host of other content on Tobuscus

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Coolest Things That Happened in 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/t6lco/coolest-things-that-happened-in-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/t6lco/coolest-things-that-happened-in-2017 Wed, 27 Dec 2017 14:37:18 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

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SpecialEffect

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You might not have heard about SpecialEffect, a charity focused on providing ways for disabled people to enjoy video games as if they had no impediments. It's been around for ten years, yet as Christopher Dring of GamesIndustry.biz discusses, 2017 was SpecialEffect's best year so far.

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In addition to being in contact with more people than ever before about how the charity can help, this year's One Special Day fundraiser was the biggest on record. One Special Day is where developers and companies, including Sega, pledge to donate the full day's revenue to SpecialEffect, and many of this year's partners have already signed up for next year's event as well. It's a good reminder that aside from the competition, profits, and backlogs, video games are really about making people happy. And that, in this writer's opinion, is probably the coolest thing of all for this year.

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---

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2017 certainly wasn't short on major developments, events, and game releases. Naturally, we've only touched on a few of them here, so feel free to chime in with your coolest things from this year down in the comments!

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Back from the Beyond

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It's not only 3D platformers that experienced a long-awaited resurgence, though. Sonic Mania marks the first well-received and well-constructed outing for Sonic in a long time -- too long, many fans would say. It manages to capture what made Sonic so popular back in the '90s without feeling stale, and one can only hope that it is a sign of things to come (especially if we forget about Sonic Forces).

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But there's more! Capcom's recent Mega Man 11 reveal was meant to show that the company is still dedicated to its rock-solid IP, intending to give the series a true resurrection, and not a halfhearted Mighty No. 9 attempt at it.

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The Resurrection of 3D Platformers

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After Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, lighthearted, charming 3D platformers essentially fell off the face of the Earth, replaced by the gritty realism and edginess inspired by Grand Theft Auto. But that changed this year. The excellent, though initially-not-well-received, Yooka-Laylee saw the rebirth of classic collect-a-thon, 3D platform gaming, but that was just the start of things to come. There were a number of others this year, some not quite so notable (*cough* Ginger *cough cough*) but many that were, including Poi. Oh, and there was that Super Mario Odyssey thing that a few people talked about when it first came out. If you count that as big.

"},{"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/o/cool-things-ab2ea.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/c/o/o/cool-things-ab2ea.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"176233","description":"

E3 2017

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This year's Electronic Entertainment Expo was the first to finally be open to the general public -- if one was lucky enough to get in. Apart from being a good means of marketing and generating profit, opening E3 to the public is a recognition of the fact that gaming is much more mainstream than it has been in ages past.

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And this year's expo was certainly one worth attending. For the first time in far too long, there was actual competition between the so-called Big Three, each of which showed off some fine titles and made us realize just how good it is to be 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/c/o/o/cool-things-ea18f.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/o/cool-things-ea18f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176232","description":"

The Loot Box Controversy

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Loot boxes themselves aren't cool, even though they have the potential to be. Many see them as representing everything wrong with the gaming industry. That's why this year's developments are especially noteworthy. On the political side of things, the EU and UK Parliament actually conducted separate investigations into whether the boxes constitute gambling, accompanied by a slew of complaints from gamers and parents pushing for greater regulation.

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Then there was the EA incident, where fan protests influenced the developer's decision to alter its plans, changing the Battlefront II situation into something slightly more palatable. Sure, the fact that it's a Star Wars game and thus has a huge fan base probably helped, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

"},{"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/o/cool-things-d3ac1.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/o/cool-things-d3ac1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176231","description":"

The Game Awards 2017

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"What's so special about an award ceremony held every year?" you might be asking. This year was pretty extraordinary, though: Nintendo won Game of the Year for the first time. Of course, Nintendo fans will find that more interesting and exciting than anyone else. But, Horizon: Zero Dawn fans (and others) should still dry their eyes and clean their hankies.

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Even though Sony and Microsoft execs have been quoted as saying Nintendo invigorates the market so much that it's almost become trite, there's truth in those words. Nintendo won with a complete reimagining of one of its foundational franchises. Even if you aren't a Nintendo fan yourself, it still shows that the gaming industry is alive and thriving, unpredictable and dynamic. And that's something to be excited about.

"},{"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/o/cool-things-28283.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/o/cool-things-28283.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176230","description":"

Xbox One X

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Nintendo wasn't alone in putting out a new console this year, and even though Microsoft's latest box isn't necessarily brand-new, it promises quite a bit of innovation. It's the most powerful system available and the only one that can deliver a true 4K experience.

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Granted, some believe you'd have to have a TV the size of your living room wall to really experience the difference between 4K and HD, but that's not the point. What matters for most is that it's a brand-new step that can only drive the industry forward in terms of visuals and technology in general, offering a different vision from Nintendo as far as what gaming can and should 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/p/u/b/pubg-header-719e6.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/u/b/pubg-header-719e6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176228","description":"

PUBG

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Despite not being the first of its kind, Brendan Greene's runaway hit PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (popularly known as PUBG) certainly set the standard for battle royale-style gaming and popular games in general.

\n

A couple of things in particular stand out about PUBG's success, one of them being the fact that the game wasn't even officially released before it started taking the world by storm. The other would have to be Greene's story itself, a modern-day rags-to-riches story that saw a father struggling to make ends meet suddenly become one of the best-known figures in the gaming industry.

"},{"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/s/w/nsw-87b82.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/n/s/w/nsw-87b82.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176227","description":"

Nintendo Switch

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Of course, it'd be impossible to talk about 2017 without mentioning the launch and success of Nintendo's latest system. Not only does it combine console with handheld, but it actually manages to do a good job of it too, boasting an impressive first-year library of games to boot (and it's not even the end of its first year yet).

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However, it isn't just the system itself that should catch your attention. It's the fact that Nintendo managed to turn around four years of failure, learning from its many mistakes with the Wii U and re-entering the industry with a bang, demonstrating how important the relationship between a company and its consumers is. Not that there aren't still issues in that particular area, but it's a mighty fine start nonetheless.

"},{"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/o/cool-things-header-68263.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/c/o/o/cool-things-header-68263.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"176265","description":"

2017 was a fantastic year for gamers. There are the obvious things, like Nintendo's massive success with the Switch and the rebirth of several franchises and genres, and then some not so obvious, including the success of a charity dedicated to helping disabled people. From Microsoft's most powerful console ever to the loot box controversy and everything in between, it's been a year full of companies and organizations actually responding to consumer desires, sometimes effectively -- as with Nintendo -- and sometimes not so much (that one's directed at you, EA). But in the end, amid the controversies and kerfuffle, it's really all about having fun. So with that in mind, here are our top picks for this year's coolest events, in no particular order.

"}]]]>
They Are Billions Early Access -- Yeah, It's Worth It https://www.gameskinny.com/cc24n/they-are-billions-early-access-yeah-its-worth-it https://www.gameskinny.com/cc24n/they-are-billions-early-access-yeah-its-worth-it Tue, 26 Dec 2017 17:04:49 -0500 Ashley Gill

I don't know who over at Numantian Games decided to pop They Are Billions up on Steam Early Access at the end of the year, but I've got to thank them for giving me a solid challenge over the holiday season. There's nothing like a good RTS to whittle the hours away.

There has been a lot of lamenting over the "death" of the RTS, but it's been pretty bustling this year, with releases like Northgard, Dawn of War 3, Tooth and Tail, SpellForce 3, and a number of of other full or pseudo-entries to the RTS genre.

They Are Billions is the cherry on top of an already busy year for real-time strategy fans and, like many of the other RTS releases seen in 2017, it tries something different with the genre. This may sound disheartening to those disappointed by some other real-time strategy games released this year, but in this instance, those differences are for the better rather than worse -- at least for now, as the current Early Access build only hosts survival mode.

Changing up RTS ... again

So what exactly about They Are Billions is different from the classic RTS formula?

For starters, there are no different factions or races. Instead, the player controls a human colony that must persevere in the face of literally billions of zombies. And boy, they are tenacious.

Survival mode gives players a set amount of days to set up their defenses to be able to withstand the final zombie wave. The amount of days you have to work up your colony and defenses can be set before the round, as well as the amount of zombies on the map by default.

Maintaining, expanding, and protecting the colony is as complicated as it sounds. You must juggle a number of resources to ensure you always have the energy, workers, and materials to continue to function. Some resources, such as colonists and workers, are only gained one time, after you've built their homes. Other resources, such as wood and stone, are gained continually over time via their gathering buildings and have a cap to how much you can stockpile at a time.

You use your resources to pump out units, construct buildings, and build walls to protect yourself. All the while you must clear out the zombies on the map by default, including their villages, which are at a finite amount and will join the final wave should you not clear them out before the time comes.

The second difference from the standard formula is the pause function, which can be used at any point during gameplay so you can set several actions in motion at once. The pause feature sounded a bit iffy to me before I dove into They Are Billions, but it molds perfectly with the flow of the game.

Zombies swarm upon your colony in droves, and pausing allows you to assess the situation and take action accordingly rather than act brashly and make mistakes. Zombies don't just destroy buildings; they also infect the workers or colonists within. This makes even small defense breaches potentially devastating or game-ending, which further emphasizes the strategic importance of pausing.

Survival mode and beyond

As stated, the only mode currently available in They Are Billions is survival mode. Naturally, you'll probably want to know how much time value you can get out of a single-mode Early Access game.

A single survival mode game can last up to five or six hours, depending on the amount of days you set the game to go for. The fewer days you set the game for, the shorter it will be -- but also the more difficult. The time the final wave comes can be altered, but the size of it will always be the same.

Your game can be cut short, however. An inconveniently spawned wave or odd-off attacking zombie group can penetrate your lesser defenses and quickly wrap a game up. How much time you get out of a single game is ultimately up to your setting choices before you start and how well you manage and protect your colony.

Your reward for surviving at least 75% of the final wave is a new map type. Though maps are randomly generated, you do get to choose the type of map you can play on. There are four map types at the time of writing, each with its own type of terrain and advantages.

To "complete" the game in its current state, you will have to survive the final wave on all four maps. But if you're a strategy junkie like me, you may just find yourself choosing your preferred map type and testing out strategies and reducing the time you have to build your defenses. Because, you know, why not.

Though They Are Billions is currently lacking a campaign mode, its survival mode is amply entertaining if you have a soft spot for real-time strategy games. Though to say it's hard is an understatement.

While I'm not particularly fond of the unit voice acting (the Ranger in particular is a bit too steamy for this type of game and setting), nearly everything else in They Are Billions is an enjoyable and addictive experience.

The above isn't to say the game is perfect -- it is in Early Access, and there are some noticeable bugs, as developer Numatian Games has built its engine themselves. The most notable two are that selected units sometimes don't respond to your actions or run directly into terrain instead of going around. If not for the pause function, these problems would severely diminish just about anyone's enjoyment of the game.

It's understandable to be wary of Steam Early Access games, but I've found it incredibly difficult not to recommend They Are Billions to friends even as it stands. Though the real meat may lie in its campaign mode, as it stands, its survival mode is loads of fun and more than scratches the RTS itch. Survival mode is fun and positively addictive, but the spring 2018 release of campaign mode can't come soon enough.

(Disclosure: Writer was granted a free copy from the developers for review purposes.)

]]>
Best MMOs of 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/8bsvy/best-mmos-of-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/8bsvy/best-mmos-of-2017 Tue, 26 Dec 2017 15:45:43 -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/e/8/4/e84f01e1-b36b-4a72-a3d0-d5e32427dd28-43e5c.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/e/8/4/e84f01e1-b36b-4a72-a3d0-d5e32427dd28-43e5c.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"175911","description":"
Identity
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Available on identityrpg.com

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Identity is a multiplayer RPG about discovering your fate and the world around you. It's a game like The Sims, but you get in-depth play of the character. Players can be a criminal, police officer, or businessperson. You can also interact with players from all over the world.

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There are so many things to do in this game. You can buy houses or live in apartments with other players. You'll have full control over furnishing your home. Get jobs and start careers the more you rank in progression. Perks and other special characters are unlocked as well. This huge open-world adventure brings real-world features and other players to create a simulated life experience.

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 ---

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The best MMOs are always out there every year. This was a roundup of only a few of the best from 2017. What are your favorite MMO games from 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/9/8/5/985a2e9de914842.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/9/8/5/985a2e9de914842.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175889","description":"
Worlds Adrift 
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Available on Steam

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Bossa Studios brings Worlds Adrift, an MMO that allows players to build ships and customize them how they want with resources they find in the world. Designing the ship is very important because it affects how it holds up In battle. Get crews together to help explore and build ships. Join alliances to attack and defend the world. It’s all up to the player and how they choose to go about their journey. Befriend allies to help you drift from different islands in a continuously evolving world.

"},{"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/stormblood-b7c8c.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/stormblood-b7c8c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175888","description":"
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
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Available on: Square Enix Online Store
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Square Enix released this MMO adventure about conflict between man and dragon. You must follow the Warrior of Light and his comrades who want to save Ala Mhigo. Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood lets you travel east to defeat Garlemald. New challenges are brought about in this adventure. There are Eight-man raids, and this second expansion brings good content and new creatures that stand in your way to victory.

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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/s/h/a/share-14fd3.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/a/share-14fd3.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175887","description":"
Revelation Online 
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Available on https://ro.my.com

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This is a beautiful MMO in which players can embark on many adventures and use PvP mode to play against other players. The vibrant atmosphere consists of cliffs, forests, and mountains available for players to freely explore.

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Fight through dungeons with up to 5-10 friends to overcome obstacles. Play quests to unlock mysterious artifacts. There’s unique classes and spells to learn. Form relationships with your soulmate or provoke battles with your enemies. Revelation Online brings a wide range of social interactions. Fight together with your friends to rule the world. 

"},{"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/l/wild-west-online-72208.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/l/wild-west-online-72208.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175885","description":"
Wild West Online
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Available on Playwwo.com

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612 Games brings you a Wild West action MMO where you are free to explore the land and gather resources. You can be a hero or villain your actions decide your fate. Enjoy the day and night cycle while exploring the land for Saloons. Drinking whisky can heal you but not too much. Players can purchase weapons from the Gunsmith and new outfits from the Tailors located throughout the world.

"},{"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/h/ashes-creation-title-640x360-79a56.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/h/ashes-creation-title-640x360-79a56.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175884","description":"
Ashes of Creation 
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Available on ashesofcreation.com

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Intrepid Studios brings this open-world, non-faction-based MMORPG where players' actions and decisions matter -- the players' world changes because of their actions. Choose your class, race, and gear through character customization. Control how your the civilization evolves. Whatever the player does in the game makes history throughout the story. 

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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/v/a/l/valnir-rok-ein-kleiner-starter-guide-640x360-c95ab.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/a/l/valnir-rok-ein-kleiner-starter-guide-640x360-c95ab.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175883","description":"
Valnir Rok
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Available on Steam 

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This online sandbox survival game takes players to Valnir Island, where they will have to survive wild animals, beasts, and dangerous men. Valnir Rok is inspired my Norse mythology. It’s an open-world adventure that allows players to trade, find jobs, craft tools, and find recipes while exploring deserted villages. You can build houses or villages to defend your territory from other players. Valnir Rok lets you battle against other enemies and place bounties on their heads. This is a true Vikings tale.

"},{"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-light-title-640x360-8e494.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/r/dark-light-title-640x360-8e494.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175882","description":"
Dark and Light 
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Available on Steam

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Dark and Light is a survival fantasy game that gives players control over magical energy through the planet Gaia. Landscapes are crawling with creatures, and players will have to fight to survive. You will have to build your own sand bases while exploring the world. The further you travel, players unlock more areas to build your base. 

"},{"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/1/1/3/11394-49c84.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/1/1/3/11394-49c84.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176751","description":"

The best MMO games are upon us and this will list the top games of 2017. A good MMO can be pretty memorable to gamers and bring in a lot of traffic. Enjoying a good MMO with friends online can be very exciting because going on adventures alone isn't as fun. Let's see exactly what MMO you might want to check out this year. 

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[Image courtesy of mmorpg.com]

"}]]]>
The State of RPGs in 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/93cm3/the-state-of-rpgs-in-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/93cm3/the-state-of-rpgs-in-2017 Tue, 26 Dec 2017 12:32:38 -0500 Joseph Rowe

2017 saw a slew of new, noteworthy RPGs. Although most were sequels of previously established series, they were long-awaited sequels, and most were well received. Both Western and Japanese developers brought something to the table this year, so put on your RPG bib and get ready to dig in to our State of RPGs in 2017 roundup!

The Biggest RPG Releases of 2017

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Let's start this list off a little funky. Let's tackle the mess that was Mass Effect: Andromeda. The sequel to the mostly well-received Mass Effect trilogy had been anticipated for half a decade. While by no means the worst game of the year, many fans were disappointed with the weird graphics and the less-than-stellar storyline, likely caused by the game changing hands many times throughout its development. It currently sits at a user rating of 4.8 on Metacritic, with GameSkinny's ElConquistadork including it in his 5 Worst Games of 2017, but our own Synzer gave it a 9/10, showing that some fans of the series did end up loving it. They say that true art is controversial. I'm not sure that applies to this situation, but I imagine it's something the devs tell themselves to feel better about the scores it received.

Persona 5

It finally came out! Many Persona fans, including myself, had been anticipating this game for the better half of a decade. Luckily, the wait was worth it because Persona 5 lived up to the hype. With a user score of 9.1 on Metacritic, it's safe to say it was incredibly well received by most players. And with sweet tracks like the one above, can you blame them?

If you've been sitting out on buying any new RPGs this year, I recommend picking this one up! Whether it's the beautiful graphics, the gripping plot involving a talking cat and nearly mummified hikikomori, or its stellar soundtrack, there are no downsides to this masterpiece -- except maybe spending too much time building your social links/confidants up and neglecting your actual friends.

Torment: Tides of Numenera

The spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, Torment: Tides of Numenerais a story-rich 2.5D isometric RPG in which players take on the role of a reincarnated ancient being (more or less). In the process of controlling this dude, players have to make some pretty tough decisions that will have long-term effects on their gameplay. If you liked the original, GameSkinny's Ty Arthur thinks you'll like the new one, too. It does only have a 7 on Metacritic, indicating mixed reviews, but if you're looking for an in-depth, complex, story-based throwback RPG, you're going to be hard pressed to find a better one available right now -- unless you wanna just keep replaying Planescape and Icewind Dale.

Nioh

This game has been described as a mix between Dark Souls and Onimusha. If that's not enough to grab your interest, I don't know what is. With a user rating of 8.5 for the PS4 version on Metacritic, Nioh was received quite well. Players loved its Souls series difficulty and kind-of-similar mechanics, and they praised the game's creativity that set it apart from other Souls-like games currently on the market. It's also made by Team Ninja, so if you're a Ninja Gaiden fan, you're missing out if you haven't picked this up yet.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

In a really big departure from the usual formula of the series, Nintendo went ahead and built a cooking Legend of Zelda game with an amazing open-world game built around it. Breath of the Wild is a breath of fresh air for the series, introducing tons of new gameplay elements, including a durability-based weapon system, crazy interactive environment elements that allow you to set fires, a tasty cooking system, and a degree of freedom that makes every other Zelda game look insanely linear. It currently sits at an 8.4 on Metacritic, with the only real complaints being about the durability system, but nearly everyone agrees that this is one of the best Zelda games in recent memory. 

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

2017 brought with it a sequel to 2014's Stick of Truth. This time around, the focus is on superhero movie franchises. According to GameSkinny's own Ashley Gill, the game was a solid entry into the franchise and different enough from its predecessor to set it apart. Sitting at a 7.6 for the PS4 version on Metacritic, The Fractured But Whole has been praised for its combat system, its soundtrack, and its faithfulness to the humor and look of the Comedy Central original. Some players, like Ashley, weren't impressed by the crafting system, but most players enjoyed the rest of the game thoroughly regardless of its flaws.

Nier: Automata

One of the most well-received RPGs of the year, Nier: Automata sits at a user score of 8.8 on Metacritic. Practically everything about the game received praise, including its character design, its story, and especially its varied gameplay. The game is a sequel to the original Nier, made by PlatinumGames. Both games are spin-offs of the Drakengard series. Not only is the game itself amazing, but it's got a rich story that is only enhanced by any enjoyment or knowledge you have of the previous game and its sister series. Who doesn't love action RPGs with anime androids?

Hand of Fate 2

In Hand of Fate 2, players take control of a character who must fight through various multi-floored dungeons set up by a a dungeon master-like entity known as the Dealer. It combines roguelike, RPG, and deck-building gameplay to bring a unique spin to the genre. If you're a fan of D&D or other tabletop RPGs, this is definitely worth checking out. It's been generally well received, with a user score of 7.7 on Metacritic. The main criticism that pops up is its combat, but players praise its other gameplay mechanics and the improvements the sequel made over the original.

Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon

 In the spirit of other second releases of Pokemon games, Pokemon: Ultra Sun/Moon is basically the same as its originals but with a few extra goodies. It comes with a new Mantine surfing mini-game, a new online battle mode that allows players to rent Pokemon to create a new team, a Fairy-type trial, totem stickers, and more. One of the biggest updates is that the game now actually contains a real gym, whereas the original games got around that with the Island Trials. The coolest new feature added to the game is its post-game: you fight a supergroup of the previous game's evil organization leaders. Their name is Team Rainbow Rocket, which is the sickest name ever, I don't care who you are. If you're a hardcore Pokemon fan, this is worth checking out, but if you're not, you're probably fine just sticking with the 2016 release.

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The Remastered RPG Releases of 2017

Final Fantasy XII: the Zodiac Age

If you weren't a fan of the original Final Fantasy XII, like GameSkinny's Ashley Gill, then you might still want to give this new game a try, as it completely remakes the MMORPG combat system into something more appropriate to the mainline Final Fantasy series. Not only does The Zodiac Age update the combat (which Ashley loved and which I will reserve my judgment on because I am one of three people who actually liked the original FFXII's MMORPG-style combat), but it also gives the game a lovely new set of updated graphics and, especially, sound.  Whether you're a fan of the original game or not, if you're looking for a new Final Fantasy to spend your time with this year, this one might be right for you.

Skyrim VR

Have you ever wanted to Fus Roh Dah a dragon face to face? Well, now thanks to the PS4 VR version of the game, you can. There's not much new to report on this other than some people really love Skyrim VR, and some people really hate it. If you're a fan of VR, though, you'll probably dig this update to the much-beloved fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls series.

.Hack//G.U. Last Recode

Forget about your Sword Art Onlines and your Log Horizons, the OG stuck-in-a-game game is back with a re-release of the original .Hack//G.U. trilogy as well as a new installment: .hack//G.U. Vol. 4//Reconnection. Fans of the original game series or the anime, manga, and light novels it's based on will love this (re)release. .Hack//G.U. Last Recode sits at a well-received score of 7.9 on Metacritic, with players praising its improvements/updates to the original, its story, and its addictive gameplay.

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What Was New in the World of Online RPGs of 2017

World of Warcraft: Legion continues

(The cinematic above contains some pretty serious spoilers, so watch at your own discretion.)

While World of WarcraftLegion came out back in 2016, it concluded this year with players finally confronting Sargeras and banishing him to space baby jail, while Illidan watches over him in a surprisingly poetic resolution to our demon hunting buddy's storyline. There's an upcoming patch that will tide players over until Battle for Azeroth releases, but for now, players will be spending their time raiding Antorus or competing in the current PvP season.

Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind

Introducing the Warden as a new class as well as bringing players to the location of the beloved third Elder Scrolls game, The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind received mixed scores from players, largely debating about whether the price was worth it. However, many players feel like this gave the game enough fresh content to keep them interested, especially all that new lore. Delicious. It's what finally convinced me to want to give the game a shot.

FFXIV: Stormblood

In a bold move, FFXIV: Stormblood introduces the brand-new classes Samurai and Red Mage. Oh, wait, they're not new to the series? Well, they're new to this game along with a new level cap, new areas to explore, new primals, a new raid, and a few other new features. It was given a 7.1 user score on Metacritic, indicating that it was received neither well nor poorly. Most of the negative reviews came from players who had server issues, but the content itself seems to have been well received, making this one of the better MMO expansions to check out this year.

Destiny 2 and Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris

Bungie is a bit weird. They just released Destiny 2 back in September on the PS4 and XBox One, then released it for PC on October 24th. Yet, this month brought with it the game's first expansion: Curse of Osiris. Just like the original, the game is basically an FPS MMORPG that features both PvE and PvP. Unlike the original, it came with a better matchmaking system. It was well received at launch, with most players praising its varied gameplay, its graphics, and its new storylines. However, some players have since soured to the game because of the quick release of its expansion, which involved gating content from the original behind expansion-only gear levels (as well as misleading players in the original about the amount of XP they were earning). The Curse of Osiris' Metacritic score currently sits at a 1.7 for users, but that is likely due to (warranted) salt over the developer's content gating and the XP issue.

Absolver

I wanted to like Absolver much more than I did. I really did. It's like Dark Souls and Jade Empire with a softer aesthetic. It was pretty great to play -- when it worked. However, this PvE-lite, PvP-focused online martial arts RPG was plagued with insane server issues at launch that killed a lot of the potential love I had for it. I gave it a 6, but the user score on Metacritic was a little bit higher at 6.6. It might be worth revisiting now that there's been some time to work out the server issues, but I'd rather just go back to Persona 5.

Citadel: Forged with Fire

This is another game that was plagued with issues in its early-access days when I was writing the review for itCitadel: Forged with Fire was an incredibly promising sandbox. It's like the other games, except you're a wizard and you fly on a broom. That might not sound exciting, but have you ever flown on a broom before? It's pretty dope. The main problems I had with the game were based on its early-access nature leading to numerous instances of game-breaking bugs, like server crashes, enemies who didn't attack, and an incredibly hard-to-navigate server browser. However, other players have reported that those issues have since been fixed for the most part, and the game's more recent reviews on Steam have been mostly positive. Given all that, it might be worth checking out if you want to get your Gandalf on.

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What Does 2018 Have in Store for Us?

Kingdom Hearts III

While likely not coming out in 2018, a writer can hope, can't he? I've largely avoided playing the other games in the series (besides 1 and 2), so I've been waiting for Kingdom Hearts III for longer than I'd like to admit. When will Goofy come home?

All we have for now are trailers to hold us off, but luckily, this year's E3 showed off the combat system a bit more. The game looks just as good as it ever was. I can't wait to beat Pete up. Also, shout out to the accurate James Woods impersonator playing Hades in the Japanese dub.

Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

The long-anticipated sequel to the original Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom comes out next year. Hype yourselves up, anime nerds, because this is looking to be a promising sequel. The Ghibli veterans who worked on the original game are reprising their roles for this, so if you got that same feeling from the trailer, you're justified. We might not get a Princess Mononoke 2 anytime soon, but at least we got this.

 

WoW: Battle for Azeroth

The Horde's done it again. We somehow managed to be aggressors again because story. So, after saving our world from utter annihilation and banishing Sargeras to titan jail, we will have another war with WoW: Battle for Azeroth. But at least we get some new allied races coming in, like the Zandalari Trolls and Void Elves. You'll catch me playing a Highmountain Tauren Druid while I explore Zandalar.

Call of Cthulu

Fans of horror RPGs and Lovecraft have a tasty little treat to look forward to next year: Call of Cthulu. Based off of the tabletop RPG of the same name, which is based off of Lovecraft's Mythos, players will be investigating some seriously spooky stuff in Boston, Massachusetts.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

When most Americans think of Bohemians, they tend to think of beatniks, but Kingdom Come: Deliverance is about to show that the Kingdom of Bohemia is back, sans the Kerouac books. This game is billed as being based on 15th century European history in the Holy Roman Empire. Everything from the clothing to the castles to the soundtrack is meant to be period accurate. If you're looking for a medieval RPG without the fantasy, this game will be worth keeping an eye on.

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2017 has been a pretty generous year for RPG fans. Whether you're a fan of traditional JRPGs or Western MMOs, there's something for pretty much everyone. Persona 5 was hands down my favorite this year. How about you? What was your favorite RPG this year? Are there any games I overlooked? What are you looking forward to most next year? Let me know in the comments!

 

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The GameSkinny Community's 2017 Game of the Year Picks https://www.gameskinny.com/de4kj/the-gameskinny-communitys-2017-game-of-the-year-picks https://www.gameskinny.com/de4kj/the-gameskinny-communitys-2017-game-of-the-year-picks Tue, 26 Dec 2017 10:00:02 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

2016 was no slouch as far as gaming went, but 2017 was absolutely spectacular. From new systems, rebirths of old genres, and reimaginings of some of the best-known IPs, it'd be difficult for anyone to choose just one favorite game from this year. But that's what we did anyway. We asked our community writers what their top AAA, mid-tier (or AA, if you prefer), indie, and mobile games were this year, and here's what they had to say.

Thomas Wilde

As you'd expect after seeing his usual monthly catalog, freelancer Thomas Wilde chose from a broad range of games for his best-of-year picks.

Best AAA Game
Asking someone to make a choice like that in 2017 is like asking them to pick a favorite vital organ, and I haven't quite managed to play everything yet. It was even a good year for horror games. In a year where everything else about human existence seemed determined to suck, video games offered one of the best lineups of titles in maybe a decade or more, with surprisingly few outright disappointments.

My top three is some combination of Resident Evil 7, Tekken 7, and Prey, depending on the day. Tekken 7 has a disappointing set of features in its long-awaited home releases, but the gameplay there is solid and quintessentially Tekken in a way that keeps you playing for evenings on end; Prey wraps itself around you and doesn't quite let go, with a paranoid atmosphere that has you questioning your own possessions and a truly weird alternate history; and Resident Evil 7 proves less is a lot more by removing (most of) the action-movie spectacle of the franchise and getting genuine scares out of something so simple as an old man with a shovel.

Best Mid-Tier Game
I'd probably hand this one to Nier: Automata, simply for how it sticks with you. It's a deeply weird game in a way that you don't typically get out of any release, indie or not. It feels like a localized production from an alien race. Sure, at its heart, it's a simple, remarkably short shooter/brawler, but it has a lot to say about loneliness, sentience, and violence. Even in as crowded a year as 2017, it's a stand-out for how it utilizes the medium.

Best Indie Game
I got a lot out of RiME. It may flag a bit towards the end, but it's a simple, evocative, and, above all else, colorful game, with effective puzzles and a bizarre world that keeps you asking questions. It's a learning experience about atmosphere and minimalism.

Ty Arthur

Freelancer and guide writer Ty Arthur had the unenviable task of choosing from several contenders, but he managed to do so nonetheless.

There were some absolutely fabulous games this year, from the long-awaited PS4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn to a slew of Switch hits like Breath Of The Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Both Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Call Of Duty: WWII rocked it on the first-person, Nazi-killing fronts, and Friday The 13th was more fun than it had any right to be. We got some very unexpected gameplay changes from Nier: Automata and Resident Evil 7 that sort of rocked the gaming world, along with a crop of outstanding RPGs. While it doesn't quite match its predecessor,Torment: Tides Of Numenera is easy to sink a whole lot of hours into if you love classic computer RPGs, and of course Persona 5 dominated on the console front. Now onto the impossible task of actually picking the best of the best!

Best AAA Game: While any of the above-mentioned games could easily sit in this spot depending on personal preference, I'm going to have to go with Arkane's tweaking of the stealth action formula with the sci-fi/horror mashup Prey. It has everything that makes the Dishonored games great, but in a revamped setting that really messes with your head. I love the combination of RPG elements with stealth combat that rewards thinking outside the box, and just wandering around the station learning little details about the people who lived there before all hell broke loose was a pleasure, even outside the killer gameplay.

Best Mid-Tier Game: I suppose there's some wiggle room on what exactly constitutes “mid-tier” over indie, so this might be a bit controversial, but I'm going to solidly put Divinity: Original Sin 2 here in this category. That was a game that absolutely lived up to the hype, and not many titles do that. This is the sort of title that shows why crowdfunding needs to exist and that the practice actively enhances the gaming landscape. Hats off to Larian for keeping the gameplay recognizable while improving on the original game in every single way. There's a hundred different ways to approach any situation, with dozens of character builds, and I've yet to get tired of trying out different combos. If you love turn-based RPGs, be prepared to sink a hundred hours or so into this one.

 

Best Indie Game: For me, easily the best RPG of the year is a little indie excursion that came out of nowhere and absolutely bowled me over with its amazing combination of style, substance, and humor: West Of Loathing! I'm still sort of in awe over how a black and white game with stick figure graphics managed to grab me and never let go. Every element of the game is hilarious, and there's always more to discover, whether it involves demonic cows, ghost pickles, or even more absurd hijinks. Throw in a killer old-school overland map, with random encounters that easily match the best of the '90s PC RPGs, and you've got a rare gem on your hands here that delivers on all fronts. It's laugh out loud funny and keeps you hooked with solid, classic gameplay.

El Conquistadork

Freelance writer El Conquistadork's choices are equally as varied and go to show that you don't have to love everything about a game for it to be your favorite too.

Best AAA Game: Horizon: Zero Dawn. I just had so damn much fun playing this game. The setting is fascinating and unique, the protagonist is amazing, and it’s the most beautiful game I’ve seen in a long time. A close second would be Persona 5 for the simple reason that I don’t like anime, I’m lukewarm on JRPGs, and their save system caused me to lose so much progress that I would take month-long breaks between sessions just to counteract the frustration ... and yet I put more hours into it than I’m comfortable with relating. How does that even happen? And RE7 would be in there as well: strong as hell at the beginning of 2017, and still strong as hell at the end.

Best Mid-Tier GameWhat Remains of Edith Finch was the apotheosis of what walking sims have been attempting to become since Gone Home and Dear Esther. There’s a level of vast storytelling interacting beautifully with its wide varieties of gameplay and its stylistic decisions, and it left me gobsmacked.

Best Indie Game: I wasn’t completely sold on the final, horror-themed moments of Night In The Woods, but that still left it plenty of room for being the best indie game of 2017. Its artwork, soundtrack, and themes of growing up, loneliness, small-town water treading, and crimes just sucked me right into its world.

Best Mobile Game: With a game titled We Eat Blood, And All Our Friends Are Dead, you know I’m gonna have a look. Based in the classic RPG world of Vampire: The Masquerade (a personal favorite of mine), this is a spooky, text-based adventure where you play a youngling vampire trying to learn about himself without getting purged by his elders. A damn fun time.

Kieran Desmond

JTP Mentor and community writer Kieran Desmond pulled from a wide variety of genres for his GOTY picks, a reflection of just how much there was on offer this year.

Best AAA Game: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Like a bunch people this year, I really fell in love with Breath of the Wild. The way the open world was set up by giving you access to a few core mechanics -- remote bombs, Magnesis, Stasis, Cryonis, and the glider -- and then just setting you loose to explore Hyrule was a stroke of genius. The subtle score and beautiful visuals only add to the "open-air" atmosphere they were striving for. I'm still playing BotW, and after putting about 250 hours into it so far, I'm yet to encounter the final Divine Beast or enter Hyrule castle -- I never want it to end.

Best Mid-Tier Game: Absolver

Absolver was a game that I followed from its announcement, hoping that it would live up to the promise of being able to dynamically learn various combat styles and customize your style as you progress. And SloClap absolutely delivered. This unique open-world fighting game takes patience and a keen eye to master, just like many traditional fighting games. Studying your opponent in order to predict their next move is a huge part of the game that, when done correctly, creates an immensely satisfying experience.

Best Indie Game: Pyre

I was attracted to Pyre because of the beautiful artwork and music from its trailer. I was also curious about its odd mix of RPG, visual novel, and sports-centric gameplay, which turned out to be an innovative and really fun combination. Every character is endearing, the overworld map and the locations are stunningly designed, and the incredibly diverse score, composed by Darren Korb (who worked on Supergiant's previous games Bastion and Transistor) is just sensational. If I were to recommend a single game from 2017, it would be Pyre.

Auverin Morrow

Erstwhile senior editor (now with Hi-Rez) Auverin Morrow took the time to drop in and leave her thoughts too.

GOTY: Horizon: Zero Dawn, hands down.

Beautiful game, excellent combat, a truly unique environment (with awesome robo-dinos), and a badass female character who puts more emphasis on the badass part than the female part. What's not to love?

Joshua Broadwell

Your humble writer felt the need to add his choices too, because why not?

Best AAA Game: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Like Kieran and countless others, this one has to go to BotW, but it was a tough choice between it and Super Mario Odyssey. The latter is excellent in its own right, but with BotW, Nintendo managed to pull off a difficult task by creating a fantastic game that also happened to be a radical remaigining of a world-famous franchise. Despite being so different, it comes across as everything Zelda games always wanted to be. Hyrule is truly a living and breathing land, with areas that look and feel drastically different from each other and characters who are actually deeply connected to each other. The combat and weapon mechanics are spot-on, and there's always something to make exploration worthwhile, even if it's just standing on top of a mountain and admiring the gorgeous view. There is also a definite sense of progression, going from everything being a struggle to feeling capable of handling challenges like that Hinox that looked awfully intimidating when Link only had five hearts. Plus, it's one of the only games (other than Xenoblade Chronicles) where my cat sits on my shoulder and watches. And that has to count for something.

Best Mid-Tier Game:Yooka-Laylee

Yooka-Laylee didn't go over very well with many at first (although we did quite like it in our review). But even with the original issues -- issues quickly fixed by the Spin 'n' Polish update -- it managed to recapture everything that made gaming great over a decade ago: bright, colorful worlds, plenty of challenges and things to do, fun and quirky characters, tight platforming, and generally just being fun to play. Being the first major 3D platformer in forever, it carried a heavy burden, and it would have been easy for Playtonic to rely just on nostalgia and hope for the best. Luckily, they didn't, and the end result is a quality experience.

Best Indie Game: Yono and the Celestial Elephants

Yono is definitely indie, since it's the result of a one-man studio. On the surface, it's a cute adventure game about an elephant trying to solve people's problems, with some Zelda-esque puzzles and combat. But underneath that, there's quite a bit more going on about the nature of life and death, reality, and the relationship between everything alive -- and dead. It's not going to tax your brain or skills, but it's more than worth spending time with.

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And there you have it -- a host of games from across multiple genres, with enough quality and variety to satisfy almost anyone. But you, reader, are part of the community too, so sound off in the comments below and tell us what your GOTY picks are!

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Top eSports Teams of 2017: Who Is On Top and Who Is On the Rise https://www.gameskinny.com/qk2cz/top-esports-teams-of-2017-who-is-on-top-and-who-is-on-the-rise https://www.gameskinny.com/qk2cz/top-esports-teams-of-2017-who-is-on-top-and-who-is-on-the-rise Sat, 23 Dec 2017 11:00:03 -0500 Joseph Rowe

Who's on top? What's on bottom? Oh wait, this isn't e-bbot and Costello. We're talking about both the best and the most promising e-Sports teams of 2017 in this wrap-up of the year's competitive gaming scene.

Who's On Top? 

CS: GO

Counter-Strike in its various forms has been a staple of the competitive gaming scene for nearly two decades. The two biggest teams this year, according to ESL Gaming, are SK Gaming from Brazil and Faze Clan with players from Nordic and Slavic backgrounds. 

SK Gaming's team consists of FalleN, fer, coldzera, TACO, and boltz. This Brazilian team sits at the top both in terms of club ranking as well as power ranking on ESL Gaming. They won Blast Pro Series in Copenhagen, Dreamhack Summer, ESL One Cologne, and cs_summit as well as placing as runners-up in this year's Subaru Invitational and the North American e-Sports Championship Series Season 3. The video above features the grand finals between C9 and SK Gaming, where the latter team goes 3-0 in a shutout.

FaZe Clan is a much more international team than SK Gaming is. They consist of Norway's rain, Denmark's karrigan, Bosnia and Herzegovina's NiKo, Slovakia's GuardiaN, and Sweden's olofmeister. They placed first in season 3 of the Europe e-sports Championship Series, and were runners-up in season 4. They were second in both player and club rankings on ESL Gaming. They also won 3-0 against Team Liquid at ESL One New York.

DotA 2

DotA 2, the most hardcore of the MOBAs and the genre's origin source, is another staple of the competitive gaming scene. This year saw some great premiere events, with one prize pool being 24 million American dollarydoos.

Team Liquid is on top this year according to GosuGamers. They were the ones who took home the biggest piece of that giant prize pool at the International this year. The team consists of Germany's KuroKy-, Bulgaria's MinD_ContRoL, Finland's Matumbaman, Jordan/Poland's Miracle-, and Lebanon's GH. Not only did they win big at this year's International, they also placed second against Team Secret at DreamLeague Season 8. The video above features the finals match from the International between Newbee and Team Liquid.

Team Secret brought their secret sauce to the table this year and won against Team Liquid in the finals in DreamLeague Season 8. They consist of Denmark's Ace, Malaysia's MidOne, Germany's Fata, Jordan's YapzOr, and Estonia's Puppey. In addition to taking first against Team Liquid, they also came in second against VP twice this year, at ESL One Hamburg and DotA Summit 7.

League of Legends

While League hasn't been around quite as long as DotA, it was and perhaps still is the more popular of the two. It is one of the biggest games to help shape MOBAs as a genre. The two big teams this year that came out on top at the World Championships were Samsung Galaxy and SK Telecom T1. 

The official champions of Riot's World Championships for League of Legends this year were the members of Samsung Galaxy (not to be confused with the LA Galaxy). They took home a whopping 1.7 million for winning. This Korean team consists of CuVee, Ambition, Haru, Crown, Ruler, and CoreJJ. They won back in 2014 but struggled for a few years until they took the win in 2017. The clip above is of their matches against fellow Korean team SK Telecom T1.

SK Telecom T1 took second this year at the World Championships, but they are still as amazing as they were when they won two years in a row and three years total. They got shut out this year, but still managed to take home $620K. They consist of Untara, Blank, Faker, Bang, Wolf, and Effort. 

Who's on the Rise?

CS: GO

My favorite eSports team of the year is the Silver Snipers. Their ages range from 62 to 81. These senior Swedes surprised a lot of people this year by proving that age doesn't keep one from taking part in competitive gaming.

What's truly amazing about this team isn't just their age, but the implications of having older teams in the eSports scene. One of the biggest bummers of competitive gaming is that it has a rather steep age cutoff. Nothing prevents older players from competing, but many of them lack the reaction times, are too injured from their earlier competitive years, or do not have the time to dedicate to competitive gaming like they used to, and this leads to the main competitors in eSports being teens or people in their early 20s. However, if more senior citizens start stepping up to the plate, maybe we can see different age brackets at tournaments, which could lead to an eSports scene that's inclusive of all ages.

DotA

The biggest team to come out in 2017 that's worth looking out for next year is OpTic Gaming, previously known mostly for its Call of Duty team. This team is composed of members who were originally a part of another team that was formed a few months ago known as the Dire. The roster consists of Sweden's Pajkatt and zai, America's CC&C and ppd, and, at least for now, temporary stand-in Saksa from Macedonia. 80% of the team has been to the International, with some of them having won. This is a team made of incredibly talented players, and they're definitely worth looking out for in 2018. The video above features ppd back when he played for EG and won finals at the International. 

The other team to look out for is Fnatic's newer roster. The players include Canada's EternaLEnvY, Philippine's Abed and DJ, Malaysia's Ohaiyo, and Sweden's pieliedie and Xcalibur. The only player that isn't new to the team is Ohaiyo, who has been on Fnatic's DotA team since 2015. According to esportsranks, EternaLEnvY is a big gambler in terms of game plays; he either wins gloriously or fails spectacularly, and he is incredibly fun to watch. 

League of Legends

 Although not completely new, Longzhu Gaming (formerly known as Incredible Miracle) surprised a lot of fans this year when they beat out SK Telecom T1 at LCK Summer Season. Longzhu had been in a bit of a rough patch but managed to get to the finals, where they surprised everyone by winning out against SKT. The team consists of Korea's Khan, Rascal, Cuzz, Peanut, Bdd, PraY, and GorillA. Considering SK Telecom T1 were the second-place winners of this year's World Championship, and Longzhu Gaming managed to beat them over the summer, we might see them do better next year instead of losing to Samsung 0-3 in the quarterfinals.

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That does it for 2017's roundup of top and rising eSports teams. Were there any big names I missed on the list? Any small names I might've missed for rising teams? Any teams from other games you think are worthy of getting recognition this year? Let us know in the comments!

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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.  

]]>
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.

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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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GWENT: The Witcher Card Game | Midwinter

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GWENT, the digital trading card game based on the Witcher series, is also receiving a large holiday update. Much like the previous Fortnite update, it is more that the GWENT update also happens to be a holiday update than the fact that it is specifically a holiday update.

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While it is technically based on the in-universe holiday of Midwinter, the over 100 new cards as well as a plethora of smaller tweaks for the user experience and a host of balancing changes for various cards shows its hand; this is a major update.

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Here's a list of some of the many changes:

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  • Over 100 new cards, many with new, never before seen abilities
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  • A daily quest system, because what persistent experience would be complete without one of these?
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  • A new deck builder/ card replacement screen
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  • Better visuals and card animations
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  • Increased milling values for a lot of cards (specifics found here) for the 3 days following the release of the patch, which means it should run from December 19 to December 21.
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  • And many more small additions. 
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---

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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. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/5b1a6a30234a008225f6a936c45f354a.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/5b1a6a30234a008225f6a936c45f354a.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11748","description":"

Fortnite- Survive the Holidays

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Both Fornite's traditional format and its seemingly more popular Battle Royale mode, are receiving some obligatory holiday updates as well. There are significantly less substantial updates for the Battle Royale mode, so let's get them out of the way first. 

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Battle Royale Mode
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Battle Royale is seeing some new, albeit temporary, additions, like the snowball grenade launcher and the battle bus. There will also be emotes added in for your emotional expression enjoyment.

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Save the World Mode
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There are honestly a ton of various additions, small and large, to the Save the World Mode, so if you want to see them all, then check out the link. Otherwise, some of the highlights are below.

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  • There is a whole new event centered around the Holiday Survival update. working your way through said event promises to reward you with a ton of goodies. 
  • \n
  • Mini-bosses have been significantly upgraded. There are new variants of the Husk, Husky and Smasher. And you can also find them in a wider variety of modes. Along with their increased difficulty, there are new and improved rewards for successfully defeating them.
  • \n
  • Survive the Storm now has 3-day and 7-day variants. There's also a new winter-themed map. You can also expect mini-bosses to drop on days 3 and 7.
  • \n
  • 4 new holiday-themed heroes: \n
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    • Sarah Claus: Alchemist.
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    • Blitzen BASE Kyle: Warden
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    • Snow Stalker Jonesy: Demolisher
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    • Fragment Flurry Jess: Reclaimer
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    \n
  • \n
  • New Weapons\n
      \n
    • Including 3 Wintery Weapons:\n
        \n
      • Ralphie's Revenge: a low damage, high crit multiplier sniper rifle
      • \n
      • Frostbite: water sniper rifle that gets headshot streak bonuses
      • \n
      • Snowball Launcher: Snowballs ensare enemies in their tracks.
      • \n
      \n
    • \n
    • And a new set of "vacuum tube" weapons that use energy cells to deal nature damage, ie electrical damage with stunning effects, including:\n
        \n
      • Sniper Rifle, Auto Pistol, Revolver, Assault Rifle, Shotgun, Ball Lightning Launcher
      • \n
      • Axe, Sword, and Spear
      • \n
      \n
    • \n
    \n
  • \n
  • You can also now upgrade your heroes' rarity.
  • \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/w/o/r/world-warcraft-fest-winter-veil-nachomolina-d5p8f8x-64120.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/r/world-warcraft-fest-winter-veil-nachomolina-d5p8f8x-64120.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176551","description":"

World of Warcraft- Feast of Winter Veil

\n

Yes, dear folks. It's time to talk about the infamous MMORPG World of Warcraft and their Winter Veil characters that are legally distinct from traditional Christmas characters by being combinations of said characters, like Greatfather Winter, who is definitely not Grandfather Time and Santa combined. Or the Abominable Greench, who is definitely not a combination of Bigfoot and Dr.Seuss' Cat from How the Cat Stole Christmas!

\n
Quests
\n

For this holiday season, WoW has a handful of various quests to help keep you busy in addition to the other stuff you might have going on in-game. 

\n

Winter Veil Bosses

\n

Throughout Azeroth, there will be bosses that are also in the holiday spirit. Beating these bosses with their special hats will give you access to their hats forever. That's right folks, you can have these chintzy holiday hats forever!

\n

Greatfather Winter Needs Cookies and Milk

\n

Greatfather Winter has been very busy and due to the amount of busy he has been, he needs a lot of milk and cookies. And he's recruiting you-- from Ironforge or Orgrimmar-- to go and get them for him.

\n

Smookywood's Pastures and the Case of the Missing Shipment

\n

A shipment has gone missing, suspected of being stolen. All we have to go on currently are rumors of Abominable Greench sightings.

\n

Metzen Kidnapped

\n

Metzen to reindeer has been kidnapped. The jinglepocket goblins in Ironforge and Orgrimmar have been contacted by the kidnappers, so seeking them out first should be your #1 priority.

\n

Entertainment

\n

There are also several special holiday treats added for your entertainment:

\n
    \n
  • The Smokywood Pastures goblins have created Wintervolt machines that can change your character's colors for up to 30 minutes. What color you'll receive is anyone's guess. It's not a glitch, it's a feature.
  • \n
  • Innkeepers have surely all gotten in the holiday spirit. Maybe kissing under the mistletoe will cause something special to happen...
  • \n
  • Where you find Santa Greatfather Winter you too are also sure to find his legendary snowmen compatriots. 
  • \n
  • Early on December 25th, coincidentally the same day as Christmas in our world, the Smokywood Pasture goblins will be busy rewarding all the adventurer's with presents underneath trees throughout the land. But you best hurry, no one's names are written on them. First come, first serve.
  • \n
\n
And More!
\n

In addition to all of the above quests and various interesting rewards. There will be pets, toys, consumables, recipes, and achievements. For a full list of everything you can expect, check here

\n

Header obtained from Nachomolina.

"},{"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/l/paladins-32dd2.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/l/paladins-32dd2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176550","description":"

Paladins

\n

Unlike many of the games on this list, Paladins' holiday content is relatively meager. But it's the holiday season and developers seem to feel obligated to make holiday content for their persistent world games. So let's see what we've got.

\n
Evie's Merry Mayhem Sale
\n

First, each day from December 19 to December 26 will have a different chest on sale. Sadly, the devs are keeping the "chest of the day" a secret until the day it's actually available and the page where its supposed to be updated hasn't been done in a timely manner. With that being said, I'd suggest just checking out the in-game store.

\n
Paladin Holiday Calendar
\n

Paladins is also having a so-called "Holiday Calendar". Each day on their official Twitter account they will post a new link to a new trivia question. Answering the trivia question properly will enter you into a raffle to be one of a handful of people that can earn that particular day's reward.

"},{"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-d35eb.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/n/unnamed-d35eb.png","type":"slide","id":"176413","description":"

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja Blazing

\n

You might be saying to yourself,"Wait, I didn't know they celebrated Christmas in leaf village." Well, quit asking questions, because there are cute child versions of Sasuke and Itachi and you don't want them to get taken awake just because of your needless questions, do you? 

\n
Login Bonuses
\n

Over the course of the event, which ends on December 30th, there will be login bonuses of ninja pearls, ramen, and scrolls.

\n
Summoning Banner
\n

The aforementioned child Sasuke and Itachi dressed in Christmas costumes will be available in their own summoning event until December 25.

\n
Impact Mission
\n

There will also be a new Impact mission called "Impact! The Moon Goddess” featuring Kaguya Otsutsuki. Based on the epic battle from the anime, this event will run until January 11. After clearing all of the associated stages, you will be able to get “Kaguya Otsutsuki/ Founding Goddess★5”.

\n

The “Blazing Festival Haru&Rai” will also be running until December 29 and will feature “Sakura Haruno/Sheer Diligence” and “Kakashi Hatake/Entrusted with Hope” both of whom are potentially useful units in the aforementioned Impact Mission.

\n
Training Grounds: NEW PvP Mode
\n

A new PvP mode, called Training Grounds, will be added to the game, which will allow you to play against your friends.

\n
50 Free Ninja Pearls
\n

Lastly, if you want some free ninja pearls, then you can like the associated Facebook post and rake in all of the pearls once, or if, it hits 20k.

\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/a/n/i/animal-crossing-pocket-camp-holiday-event-1061799-1280x0-bbe93.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/n/i/animal-crossing-pocket-camp-holiday-event-1061799-1280x0-bbe93.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176411","description":"

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp- Holiday Event

\n

Animal Crossing is a series that is all about lowkey interactions. You live your life, make friends, build up a house. It's somewhat mundane by the bombastic, power fantasy standards that most games adhere to. And it's for this reason that Animal Crossing's somewhat simple holiday events are befitting.

\n
Holiday Furniture
\n

First, there will be holiday furniture that you can craft for your humble abode. This furniture can only be made during the event, which runs until December 26th, and requires the use of candy canes. Candy canes can be obtained by fulfilling the requests of your Animal Campers, or by playing shovelstrike. Don't worry about the end date, however, as long as you start crafting your furniture prior to the 26, then you will be fine.

\n

You can craft:

\n
    \n
  • Festive bow tree
  • \n
  • Three ball snowman
  • \n
  • Jingle fence
  • \n
  • And more!
  • \n
\n
Santa Wardrobe
\n

You can also unlock different pieces of a Santa outfit wardrobe by completing timed goals. The first piece, a Santa hat, will be unlocked merely by logging into the game during the event. The other pieces you must unlock:

\n
    \n
  • Santa Coat
  • \n
  • Santa Skirt
  • \n
  • Santa Pants
  • \n
  • Santa Boots
  • \n
"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/26874ace3e485d8fbe257853994a1704.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/26874ace3e485d8fbe257853994a1704.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11746","description":"

Fire Emblem Heroes - Winter's Envoy

\n

To celebrate the holiday season, Fire Emblem Heroes is bringing a new, holiday-themed banner that features a quartet of characters from Fire Emblem Awakening: Lissa, Chrom, Male Robin, and Tharja. All of whom are armored characters in Holiday theme garb.

\n

The banner brings along with it the usual daily orb login bonus that lasts for 10 days until the banner ends on January 1st. There is also a trio of paralogue missions that are available on all 3 difficulties with each rewarding an orb. Lastly, there will be special missions available for each of the lunatic versions of the paralogue missions, with each rewarding an orb. All in all, via missions and login bonuses there are a total of 25 orbs up for grabs. 

"},{"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/w/dawning-2017-snowballs-f0b5b.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/w/dawning-2017-snowballs-f0b5b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176409","description":"

Destiny 2's- The Dawning

\n

Running from December 19th to January 9th, Destiny 2's event starts and ends later than many of its peers. In this yearly winter-themed holiday festival that heralds in the new year, there will be a number of different in-game items you can obtain to help put you in the holiday spirit.

\n
Snowballs of War
\n

In the Tower and the Farm, there will be snowballs scattered around which you can tag your friends with. In Strikes, these same snowballs can be used to stun enemies and deal damage.

\n
It's Mayhem in The Crucible
\n

The popular Crucible mode, first introduced in Destiny 1's The Taken King expansion, is seeing a return. This mode has abilities recharging much faster and makes kills and other actions worth more points. It's unclear whether or not Mayhem will be sticking around after the holiday event is over.

\n
Holiday Shopping
\n

Each of the 3 weeks of the event, Tess will have new Dawning themed items. Over the course of the event, all of the exotic Dawning themed items-- ships, ghost, sparrow, emote-- and every Dawning-themed legendary armor piece will be available at her store.

\n
Other Goodies As Well
\n

There will be milestones you can accomplish during the Dawning for both strikes and the Crucible's Mayhem mode.

\n

There will also be new consumables that give boosts to everyone else you are playing with.

\n

You can also pick up a Dawning gift schematic from the Bazaar. Crafting and gifting said schematic can give you a number of potential gifts in return. You can repeat this daily. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/f447eff6fff3fde52aae8f086a2f3d3f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/f447eff6fff3fde52aae8f086a2f3d3f.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11743","description":"

League of Legends Snowdown

\n

Runs from December 13 to January 1. 

\n
Champion Skins
\n

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.

\n
Naughty or Nice Missions
\n

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.

\n
Gifting
\n

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.

\n
Snowdown Capsules
\n
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.
\n
 
\n
\n
Emotes
\n
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.
\n
\n
 
\n
\n
New Game Mode: Snow Battle Arurf
\n
This holiday-themed reimagining of ARURF features League's coolest champions.
\n
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.
\n
 
\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/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

\n

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.

\n
Joining The Festivities
\n

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."

\n
Bonus XP
\n

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.

\n
New Life Festival Gift Box Goodies
\n

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:

\n
    \n
  • Skinchanger Motif chapters
  • \n
  • New Life recipes
  • \n
  • New Life collectibles:\n
      \n
    • Sword-Swallower's Blade memento
    • \n
    • Juggler's Knives memento
    • \n
    • Fire-Breather's Torches memento
    • \n
    • Mud Ball Pouch memento
    • \n
    • Nordic Bather's Towel costume
    • \n
    • Colovian Filigreed Hood hat
    • \n
    • Colovian Fur Hood hat
    • \n
    \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
\n
Holiday Furnishings
\n

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.

\n
    \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

\n

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.

\n

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).

\n

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

\n

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.

\n

The Winter Siege Holiday event will feature:

\n
    \n
  • Double XP Playlists
  • \n
  • A new map: Winter Carentan (free for the duration of the event)
  • \n
  • A new game mode: Gun Game
  • \n
  • One free Winter Supply Drop each week that contains winter gear. 
  • \n
\n

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. 

\n

 

"},{"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

\n

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. 

\n

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.

\n

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.

\n

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. 

\n

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

\n

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. 

\n

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. 

\n

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

\n

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

\n
Skins
\n

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". 

\n
Seasonal Maps
\n

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. 

\n
New Novelty Game Mode: Mei's Yeti Hunt
\n

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.

\n

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.

\n

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.

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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. 

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Accessories

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Price: $10+

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Buy it on: Blizzard Store

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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.

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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.

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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

\n

Price:  $10+

\n

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

\n

Price: $10+

\n

Buy it on: Blizzard Store

\n

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

\n

Price: $10+

\n

Buy it on: Blizzard Store

\n

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

\n

Price: $25

\n

Buy it on: Blizzard Store

\n

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 

\n

Price: $100+

\n

Buy it on: Amazon

\n

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

\n

Price: $129.99

\n

Buy it on: FigurePrint

\n

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.

]]>
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

[{"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/a/l/wall-fct-660x330-8820b.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/a/l/wall-fct-660x330-8820b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175136","description":"

And that was out gift guide for Final Fantasy fans

\n

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. 

\n

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

\n

Buy It: Miniature Market

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

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 

\n

Price: $6.99

\n

Buy It: eBay

\n

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. 

\n

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

\n

Price: $27.00

\n

Buy It: Etsy

\n

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...).

\n

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

\n

Buy It: Amazon

\n

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. 

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

Price: $19.99

\n

Buy It: Amazon

\n

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.")

\n

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...

\n

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

\n

Price: Your precious time.

\n

Buy It: 8-bit Knits

\n

Y'all like knitties?

\n

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.

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

Price: $27.00

\n

Buy It: Redbubble 

\n

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.

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

Price: $24.92

\n

Buy It: Redbubble

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

Price: $97.99

\n

Buy It: Square Enix

\n

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

[{"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-480-7269d.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-480-7269d.png","type":"slide","id":"174599","description":"

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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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.

\n

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.

\n
\n

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. 

\n

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

\n

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 ...

\n

\n

... 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.

\n
\n

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:

  • 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

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

[{"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/d/d/wddqz3v9pwrewy5afpcmvn-1200-10b3c.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/d/d/wddqz3v9pwrewy5afpcmvn-1200-10b3c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174586","description":"

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

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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
\n

Price:$59.99-$99.99

\n

Available on ThinkGeek

\n

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
\n

Price:$8.98

\n

Available on Walmart

\n

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

\n

Pre-order on Square Enix

\n

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
\n

Price:$44.90

\n

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
\n

Price:$29.99

\n

Available to purchase on ThinkGeek

\n

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

 

\n

 

\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/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
\n

Price:$22.00

\n

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
\n

Price:$19.99

\n

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
\n

Price:$75.00

\n

Available on Etsy

\n

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. 

\n

Size: 3.5 x 3.5

\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/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
\n

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
\n

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. 

\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/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.

\n

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 

\n

Rating: 4.9 out of 5

\n

Price: $20.28

\n

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 

\n

Rating: 3.7 out of 5

\n

Price: $11.50

\n

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 

\n

Rating: 4.3 out of 5

\n

Price: $27.67

\n

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

\n

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

\n

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

\n

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

\n

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

\n

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

\n

Price: $29.99

\n

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

\n

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

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

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

\n

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

\n

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. 

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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

\n

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. 

\n

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. 

\n

\n

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

\n

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).

\n

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

\n

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. 

\n

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. 

\n

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.)

\n

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.

\n

(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.

\n

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

\n

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

\n

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

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

Buy: Amazon

\n

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.

\n

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)

\n

Price: $3.50 each

\n

Buy: Etsy

\n

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.

\n

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)

\n

Price: $38.99

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Buy: Etsy

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

Rating: N/A

\n

Price: On sale for $29.99, usually $49.99

\n

Buy: ThinkGeek

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

Buy: Amazon

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

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.

\n

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)

\n

Price: $30.00

\n

Buy It: Etsy

\n

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.

\n

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.

\n

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. 

\n

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

\n

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.

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

Buy it on: Amazon

\n

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

\n

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

\n

Price: $19.88

\n

Buy it on: Amazon

\n

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

\n

Buy it on: Amazon

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

Buy it on: Amazon

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

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

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

Price: $19.99

\n

Buy it on: Amazon

\n

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.

\n

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

\n

Price: $14.99

\n

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 seaso