Mirror's Edge Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Mirror's Edge RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network What Can Disneyland Teach To Aspiring Game Designers? https://www.gameskinny.com/u7n8q/what-can-disneyland-teach-to-aspiring-game-designers https://www.gameskinny.com/u7n8q/what-can-disneyland-teach-to-aspiring-game-designers Fri, 20 Jan 2017 03:00:01 -0500 Caio Sampaio

If you wish to become a video game designer, it is wise to learn as much as possible about the field, but do not forget other mediums. Innovation is a vital element of the gaming industry and one of the keys for developing novel concepts is looking for inspiration where no one else is.

You can have your "eureka moment" and think of a new technique when watching a scene from a movie, reading a description in a novel or walking through an amusement park.

When it comes down to parks, Walt Disney World is the dream destination of most people around the globe, as it occupies the number one spot on the list of most visited theme parks on Earth, according to the website World Atlas.

This popularity did not happen without a reason. The experiences in the park are carefully constructed to push the human imagination to its limit and aiming to keep the Disney standard of quality in the park, the company developed a list known as Mickey's Ten Commandments.

This is a set of rules Disney uses when creating new attractions to the park, but it can also prove valuable to an aspiring video game developer, as parks and game design have a lot more in common than you may think.

Mickey's Ten Commandments are:

1- Know your audience;

2- Wear your guests shoes;

3- Organize the flow of people and ideas;

4- Create a weenie (visual magnet);

5- Communicate with visual literacy;

6- Avoid overload;

7- Tell one story at a time;

8- Avoid contradiction;

9- For every once of treatment, provide a ton of fun;

10- Keep it up!

In this article, we will explain each one of these rules and address how designers can apply them to design better games, but before talking about Mickey's Ten Commandments and their use in gaming, let's discuss  one core similarity between designing a park and a video game.

It is all about the experience:

Released in 2013 by Irrational Games and 2K, BioShock Infinite is a First Person Shooter that allowed players to be in the shoes of Booker DeWitt, a former solider who received the mission of travelling to the floating city of Columbia to rescue Elizabeth, a girl who spent her life incarcerated in a tower due to her ability to open doors to parallel universes.

The universe of BioShock Infinite (above) carries many references to Walt Disney World, from the art, to the design of the areas, where each one carried a specific theme, as in a Disney park.

The most important aspect to observe in this game; however, is that whilst its core gameplay mechanic consists of shooting enemies, the experience is larger than that.

As players walk through the streets of the city, they explore the area and uncover its secrets and pay attention to the slightest detail of the carefully crafted world, as they interact with its characters.

This occurs for a reason -- suspension of disbelief.

This is a basic technique of entertainment, which consists of making the audience accept the premises of a work of fiction, even if they are absurd in real life. The idea is to allow players to forget about the logic of the real world and immerse themselves in a fictional universe.

In order to "sell" the idea of a floating city in BioShock Infinite, developers created a set of rules through the story of the game and crafted every section of the experience accordingly, from the art style, to the soundtrack.

It is crucial that every aspect of the production communicates the same vision. A poorly placed element could break the immersion and ruin the experience of the player.

With this being said, BioShock Infinite is a shooter, but its success occurred due to the sum of its parts. Audio, art style, characters and many more elements that, when put together, created a whole experience.

Now, regarding Walt Disney World...

The central point of Disney, and any theme park, are the rides, but they alone cannot sustain the success the park has had. People do not go to Disney to ride a roller coaster, they go there, in order to explore the park and enjoy the experience as whole, to the finest details that compose the magic universe of Walt Disney World.

Just as BioShock Infinite is a shooter, but people do not play it solely for the shooting, Disney is a park, but people do not go there simply for the rides. In both cases, what people wish for is the whole experience.

The whole experience is what makes a game successful, not only its basic mechanics.

The whole experience is what made Disney successful, not only its rides.

This is the connection of game design and Walt Disney World. Their success depend on carefully crafted experiences, which need several fragments to come together and become an united piece.

This is a crucial lesson any aspiring designers needs to learn. A game is a lot more than just its gameplay.

With this said, it is time to analyze with more detail how Disney builds its parks and how these lessons apply to game design. In order to do this, we will take a look at the aforementioned Mickey's Ten Commandments.

1- Know your audience:

"Identify the prime audience for your attraction or show before you begin design."

In any commercial endeavor, it is crucial to determine who your target audience is. Any aspiring designer must understand that he may have to develop a game for an audience he is not found within.

If that is the case, it is paramount to discover the preferences of the target demographic, in order to determine the direction of the project.

This brief intro takes us to the next topic.

2- Wear your Guests’ shoes:

"Insist that your team members experience your creation just the way Guests do."

In this case, we should change "guests" for "players."

This second Mickey Commandment claims that a creator of a experience, as well as the people behind it, should see his work through the lenses of the audience. This is boils down to a single word: empathy.

The Marrian-Webster dictionary defines empathy as:

"The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner"

This skill is fundamental, because the designer needs to create a product that suits the taste of the target audience and if the designer is not inserted in this demographic, he/she may need to develop a game that is not fun for himself/herself.

In order to clarify this idea, let's see an example:

Imagine a 30 years old man, who needs to develop a game for a target audience that consists of teenage girls. The dissonance between the tastes of the designer and of his target demographic will make it hard for him to create a successful game, unless he develops empathy and starts to look at his design through the eyes of a teenage girl.

This is a tricky feat to achieve and in order to do so, the designer must know as much as possible about the players. Luckily, the field of psychology has some tools to make the life of a game designer easier in this regard.

One of them is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Wikipedia entry explains what it is:

"It is an introspective self-report questionnaire designed to indicate psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions."

Once the volunteer answers all of the questions, a report is generated, which gives an overall look at a person's psyche, as the image below shows:

The video below shows the YouTube channel The Game Theorists using this test to analyze the personality of its audience, in order to determine the reason why players had certain preferences in the choice-based game Life is Strange.

                                  [Warning: Spoilers for Life is Strange]

After applying this test to several people who represent the target audience, a game designer will have a solid idea of what to aim for when designing the game, thus develop empathy.

So, now you have the tools to know the drives of your target audience. What comes next? Mickey's Third Commandment tells us.

3- Organize the flow of people and ideas:

"Make sure there is a logic and sequence in our stories and the way Guests experience them."

 In Disneyland, each area of the park tells a different story, but the designers of the park ensured to expose each narrative in a concise way.

In video game design, this Commandment is mostly associated with open world games, through the way the development team places the various points of the world in the map.

Take for example the world of Fallout 4 (below).

Each one of these locations tells to the player a bit about the story of the game, but it is important to know where to position these places. The game must deliver the story in a concise, logical and sequential order, otherwise the player may become confused and lose the interest in the narrative.

To prevent this from happening, the developers must take into account two factors -- the player's starting point in the world and the game mechanic known as "fast travel."

Have you ever wondered why in most games you can only fast travel to a location after you have traveled there for the first time? There are plenty of reasons, but one of them to is to ensure that the player will follow the background story in a logical order.

In most open world games, which parts of the story a location tells is based on how far from the player's starting point this place is. With this said, if a player walks closely to the starting point, regardless of the direction, he/she will only uncover simple details of the story, while the game reserves more in-depth information for areas further away.

If the game grants to the player the ability to fast travel to a location, without progressing through the game to arrive in it, it will risk breaking the narrative, as players will discover elements of the story out of sequential order.

With this said, as Mickey's Third Commandment states, it is paramount that a game designer creates an experience that tells a story in a concise way, even if it is fragmented, as in a Disney park.

4 - Create a wienie (visual magnet):

"Create visual 'targets' that will lead Guests clearly and logically through your facility."

In a park, it is important to add visual clues indicating where to go next and so is in gaming. Players need to understand clearly where to go, in order to proceed with the plot, but adding an element to act as "visual magnet" can be tricky.

As stated herein, the game designer must sell the "plausibility" of the fiction, in order to suspend the disbelief of players and allow them to immerse themselves in the game.

If you add a visual element to guide players, but it does not mix with the rest of the universe, you will break the immersion, as the visual magnet will be perceived by players as a foreign element.

An example of visual magnets being well implemented in a game is Journey, where developers added a mountain with a light beam coming from its top. Most importantly, through the art of the game, this visual element matches with the surroundings of the player, thus feeling natural and maintaining the suspension of disbelief.

A game which received mixed reactions regarding its use visual magnets was Splinter Cell: Conviction (below).

The game used text projected on objects and walls to tell to the player where to go. These had the intention of showing to players the thoughts of Sam Fisher, the protagonist. 

A poll on Ubisoft's official forum asked whether players wanted to have the option to remove these projections from the game. The results showed a perfect split. As we see in the comment from this poll, some users felt that the projected texts were intrusive and hurt the immersion of the gameplay.

This brings us to an important conclusion -- when designing visual magnets, it is a safer bet to use objects that are already part of the universe, as the mountain of Journey, so they do not stand out in a negative way, appearing as foreign elements, as the texts of Splinter Cell: Conviction.

This connects with the next Commandment from Mickey Mouse.

5- Communicate with visual literacy:

"Make good use of color, shape form, texture – all the nonverbal ways of communication."

"Always show, do not tell," is a basic rule of any medium that delivers a story and it has more importance in video game than in any other form of storytelling.

According to the video below from the YouTube channel Extra Creditsone hour-long television shows have approximately 20-30 minutes of dialogue, whereas in video games, this figure drops to ten.

This occurs due to the interactive nature of games. They allow their audience to explore the environment and receive information regarding the plot by observing the world around them, as opposed to relying on an exposition done by a character.

This reduces the number of words spoken in a game, but places greater emphasis on what is known as "environmental storytelling" -- telling a story through the world.

A game that mastered this type of narrative is BioShock (below).

In it, players survive as they explore the fallen underwater utopia of Rapture. The image above shows how the game uses visuals to tell portions of the story.

In this point of the game, no character has told to the protagonist when this society met its demise, but through the art of the world, players know that it happened during New Year's Eve of 1959.

This is just one example of tens, if not hundreds, of opportunities where the development team found a way to send a message to the player through the art of the game.

6- Avoid overload – create turn-ons

"Resist the temptation to overload your audience with too much information and too many objects."

You can tell a story through the environment, but it is important to avoid filling the world of the game with an overabundance of objects and information, otherwise you may confuse the player with an overwhelming amount of messages and visual pollution.

To achieve this goal, we can rely on a rule from film making, which states that every object that appears on screen must have relevance to either the story or to the development of the character.

This concept provides us with a solid idea when designing environments for a game. As an aspiring game designer, when creating your levels, you must discover which objects and visual guides are essential to the player, in regards to both combat and environmental storytelling.

If you add too many objects to a room, not only the will distract the player, but they will consume resources from the team, as additional time will be required to create them. In the end, everybody loses.

Keep it simple, but you should also avoid placing too few objects and make the world lose its life. Finding the right balance can be tricky and concept arts are usually the most useful tool to use in this case.

The world of Mirror's Edge is an example of a game that only has enough objects in the area to build the suspension of disbelief and allow players to navigate through the level in a challenging way, as seen in the image above.

Which brings us to the next topic...

7 - Tell one story at a time:

"If you have a lot of information divide it into distinct, logical, organized stories, people can absorb and retain information more clearly if the path to the next concept is clear and logical."

As previously stated herein, in a Disney park, visitors walk through different areas and each one of them have a different theme and mostly importantly, they all tell a different story.

The 7th Commandment of Mickey Mouse exists in order to ensure the audience understands the message being delivered in a concise way. To do this, it is crucial that all of the areas in the park tell a different story, but all of them connect somehow to create a larger narrative arc.

This same principle applies to game design, and to discuss a stellar example of this concept in practice, we will take a look at BioShock once again.

In The 5th Commandment of Mickey, we addressed the concept of environmental storytelling and its use in this production. In order to understand how the rule of "tell one story at time" fits in this game, we first need to answer why it relies heavily on environmental storytelling. It is all about the narrative structure of the game.

The most common type of story consists of three acts:

Act I - Introduction to the characters and the universe of the story. It ends once the conflict of the plot starts.

Act II - The quest of the protagonist to resolve the main conflict of the narrative. Ends with the climax.

Act III - A brief glimpse of how the characters and/or the universe changed after the conflict has been resolved.

This structure is mostly used in literature and films, but in video games, it changes a bit. Given that the selling point of video games is their interactive nature, developers try to put the player in the middle of the conflict as soon as possible.

For this purpose, they often use a literary device known as "in medias res", which means "in the middle of things". This concept consists of starting the story on Act II, in the middle of the main conflict, and BioShock made a masterful use of this technique by dropping the player in the middle of the conflict for the control of Rapture.

"But how did developers introduced players to the characters and the conflict erupting in Rapture without the first act?" You may ask.

This is where environmental storytelling comes into play.

Through the art of the fallen society of Rapture, players can get glimpses of how life once was in that city and through constructions, posters and propaganda, the audience can understand the events that led to the downfall of the city, thus delivering the information of Act I, while players explore Act II.

The story of Rapture; however, is very complex, to the point it was turned into the novel BioShock Rapture, written by John Shirley, so delivering this amount of information through the visuals of the game is not an easy task.

The story of BioShock consists of the player traveling through key areas of the city of Rapture (above) and each one of these locations tell a mini-story. The player reaches the area, but some event prevents the audience from moving to the next level. Players then need to complete certain tasks to overcome these obstacles and continue to the next part of town.

This is how BioShock managed to deliver a complex story in an understandable way. It broke down the story of the city into smaller narratives and delivered them to players one at a time -- one level at a time.

8 - Avoid Contradictions:

"Clear institutional identity helps give you the competitive edge. Public needs to know who you are and what differentiates you from other institutions they may have seen."

Every major video game franchise has an element that identifies it, regardless of that being a character, the art style, a gameplay mechanic of a combination of each of these factors.

The problem; however, is that as more installments of the series are developed, it can become difficult to maintain the identity of the franchise -- the reason why it became popular.

A series need to change over time, in order to keep its fans engaged, but this movement needs to be planned carefully. If the change contradicts one of the essences of the franchise, the fans will not be pleased with the result.

A prime example of how the lack of consistence can hurt a series is the latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise, Infinite Warfare, which sold approximately 50% less than its predecessor.

With the franchise moving away from its military roots to pursue shootings in outer space, it lost its identity and the interest of its fans in the process. This is a clear example of what NOT to do when aiming to deliver some change to a franchise.

9 - For every ounce of treatment, provide a ton of fun 

"How do you woo people from all other temptations? Give people plenty of opportunity to enjoy themselves by emphasizing ways that let people participate in the experience and by making your environment rich and appealing to all senses."

This Commandment from the world's most beloved mouse stands for the autonomy visitors have in Disneyland. They can go to the rides, visit the areas and watch the shows in any order they wish and through all of the techniques created above, Disney created an alternative reality, via its parks, which provide a rich experience to all of the senses of a person. Even the smell of popcorn is added to some areas where visitors will watch a show, in order to explore people's senses to their fullest.

The most important aspect to observe here is the autonomy visitors have and how they can still enjoy the experience regardless of how they choose to spend their time in the park.

This is similar to the premise of GTA V, a game that allows players to explore an open world in any way they want and this is one of the reasons for its success. Through the autonomy it allows players to have when deciding what to do in the game, it pleases a broad audience.

This is a lesson every aspiring designer must have in mind. Of course, not every project has neither the scope nor the budget of GTA V, but it is important to allow players to have some autonomy on how they tackle the situations within the game. This not only adds depth to the gameplay, but also broadens the target audience of the project, thus making it more profitable.

10 - Keep it up!

"Never underestimate the importance of cleanliness and routine maintenance, people expect to get a good show every time, people will comment more on broken and dirty stuff."

Everything in a Disney park is built aiming for perfection, even maintenance and cleaning duty, as Disney strives to deliver to visitors the absolute best experience they possibly can. If you are an aspiring video game designer, this is the mindset you should follow.

Of course, it is impossible to be perfect, especially in the video game industry with the budget and schedule constraints teams operate under, but that should not stop you from trying anyways. When you do what you love, there is no excuse to not dedicate a 100% of yourself to delivering the best game you possibly can.

Do not use the circumstances as an excuse for delivering an underwhelming game, because players will only care for the quality of the final product, not the circumstances under which it was created.

Conclusion

These commandments developed by Disney have withstand the testament of time and are still relevant today, as Walt Disney World continues to be the most popular theme park in the world.

I made my best to summarize the applications of these rules in game design, but this is a complex topic and if you wish to know more details about the reasoning behind the art of crafting experiences at Disney, I recommend the book One Little Spark, which you can purchase for 14 dollars on Amazon.

Of course, these are only some guidelines you should follow when designing your game, but they show that making the right connections, it is possible to link two subjects that seem unrelated to each other.

So, next time your are watching a film, reading a book or walking through a theme park, remember to keep an eye on the small details, as it is always possible to learn from other forms of art.

As Steve Jobs said, innovation is all about "connecting the dots."

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Six Things That Would Make Me Give Up on the Video Game Industry https://www.gameskinny.com/7u1v6/six-things-that-would-make-me-give-up-on-the-video-game-industry https://www.gameskinny.com/7u1v6/six-things-that-would-make-me-give-up-on-the-video-game-industry Mon, 12 Dec 2016 10:17:26 -0500 Caio Sampaio

Throughout my life, I had the pleasure of being involved with different forms of entertainment. I studied playwriting in High School, worked as a film critic in my first year of college and now I am immersed in video games, a passion that started late in my life, at the age of 17, but only blossomed as the years went by.

When I first experienced interactive storytelling, I realized video games hold great potential to become the ultimate platform for narrative-driven experiences, in both depth and meaning, surpassing films and books. The prime example to support my reasoning is Ken Levine developing a story that can only be told through video games.

Moreover, games, through interactivity, can engage their users in a way that no other form of entertainment can. With this in mind, game designers have started to use their skills, in order to create experiences that motivate individuals to tackle real life problems.

Games can be a powerful tool for social change, as Jane McGonigal detailed in her New York Times bestselling book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change The World. The future for gaming seems bright in various fronts.

This industry continues to become more sophisticated each year, developing deeper and more engaging experiences and as the development curve for video games remains steep, the revolutions we are witnessing today are only the beginning.

While I love video games in their current form, the future of this medium is what excites me the most about it and also what makes me place games above all other forms of art.

However, as in any relationship, I may have to reevaluate my judgment over video games if certain expectations are not met in the long run. 

With this said, I compiled six future scenarios that, in conjunction, would make me give up on placing the video game industry on top of my priority list.  

Reason #1 - Lack of meaningful innovation:

As technology continues to grow in an exponential rate, new gadgets and novel ideas are created each day and the time spam between the development of one innovative product and another is getting shorter, due to a principle known as Moore’s Law.

This concept states that technology doubles its processing power every two years, as seen in the graphic below, designed by Singularity University.

Video game studios keep a close eye on the technological market, in order to spot opportunities to implement new technologies in their productions and gain an advantage on the competition. The current example of this process is the expansion of Virtual Reality.

I fear; however, for a future in which the time between the arrival of one revolutionary product and the other continues to get shorter, to the point that developers will not have enough time to fully explore one technology, before moving on to the next "big thing”.

If this scenario comes to fruition, it will hurt the innovation this industry can deliver, as developers will not be able to explore a technology to its limits.

Considering that I place the gaming universe on top of my priority list due to what the future holds. Lack of significant innovation is a scenario that could make me shift my focus towards other mediums.  

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Reason #2 - Lack of focus:

The Final Hours of Portal 2 (above) is an e-book written by the video game journalist Geoff Keighley, in which the author details the development process of Valve’s Portal 2.

Therein, Geoff reveals the story behind the origins of the game, and how the initial concept diverged from the final product we all go to know. The original premise of the game featured a counterintuitive concept.

In an attempt to innovate in their design, developers at Valve produced an early version of the game that did not feature portals and included a much different story. The codename of the project was F-Stop. 

The development team; however, realized it had moved too far away from the essence of the franchise. Acknowledging its mistake, Valve restarted the design of the game and Portal 2in the form we all know, was born.

With acclaim from both critics and fans, scoring 9.5/10 on Metacritic (PC version), Valve managed to transform its bad start into a masterpiece, but not every developer can accomplish this feat. A prime example is the Call of Duty franchise.

Through the years, players complained that the series had become too repetitive and when the minds behind it decided to alter their formula, the fans reacted negatively to the change.

I am referring to the latest entry of the series, Infinite Warfare

Enthusiast asked for change and when they received it, they complained. This may seem as a paradox, but the issue was not the change itself, but how it was delivered.

It was so drastic; that the essence of the franchise fell into oblivion and this resulted in a lesser product in the eyes of the players. Without following the identity of the series, it was not a surprise that the sales were 50% down from Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

In the years to come; however, this issue might not be exclusive to Call of Duty. The problem of lack of identity might spread in the video game franchises of the future. 

As developers have at their disposal an increasingly large set of technological tools to work with, the problem of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare may affect the video game industry as a whole in the future.

In tandem with Reason #1, I fear for a future when developers attempt to harness the potential of several technological innovations at once and by “shooting at every direction”, the essence of long-standing franchises might be lost. Resulting; therefore, in a less engaging experience, which aspires to be many different things at once. However, it ends up pushing too hard towards innovation and failing to preserve what made it special in the first place.

Reason # 3 - Lack of focus (on writing):

Video games have delivered masterpieces in regards to writing, The Last of Us, BioShock and Mass Effect, to name a few, but these are the exceptions, unfortunately.

The overall standard for writing in this industry is considered low, if compared to other forms of entertainment, such as films and books.

The video above, from the YouTube channel Extra Credits, gets into further detail as to why the gaming industry often delivers poor narratives, but the biggest factor is the working conditions under which writers operate.

In many games, developing a narrative comes as one of the last steps in the development cycle, which means the writer needs to construct a story for a game that has essentially been already built.

With this said; video game writers usually need to face the frustration of having their imaginations limited by the constraints of the project, needing to adapt their ideas to a game that has been presented to them. This scenario limits the artistic freedom of writers and hurts the quality of their work.

The most notable example of writers delivering poor narratives as a consequence of the constraints of the project is the original Mirror's Edge game.

In 2011, the writer of the game, Rhianna Pratchett, spoke to the website ActionRip and commented on the reason why Mirror's Edge lacked a compelling narrative.

"DICE was a great company to work with, but Mirror’s Edge was a challenging project and an important learning experience for me. Unfortunately, because of the timing when I was brought in and a large amount of the script being cut (due to the late decision to remove level dialogue) the narrative wasn’t what I would’ve liked it to be. Thankfully, I got the chance to remedy this a little bit in the Mirror’s Edge comic series with DC. The story in those was much more along the lines of what I would’ve liked to have developed for the game."

This is the opposite of the working circumstances in other mediums, such as television and film, where the emphasis is in the narrative and all of the rest is built around that.

This trend in gaming is changing; however.

Some studios now have full-time writers as part of their design teams. These include BioWare, Ubisoft and Valve (above) and they aim to develop the narrative of their games since the initial concept, finding the best methods to combine storytelling with gameplay, in order to ensure both work together and deliver an optimal experience.

This shows a commitment from these companies to deliver compelling narratives and it represents the recognition that a good story is a fundamental piece to make a game be successful.

It is my hope to see more studios adhering to this modus operandi of placing more emphasis on writing and holding it as a crucial element of the experience.

Narrative design is a key component of the game’s design, after all, but whilst this industry has improved significantly from its roots, there still is plenty of room for improvement.

Developers are still discovering the language of video game narrative and this process of attempting new techniques, especially in the indie scenario, excites me, due to its potential to deliver more compelling and emotionally provoking experiences.

Considering the potential video games hold for storytelling, and given my passion for the art of telling stories, if the development curve in the evolution of video game narratives cease to be as steep as it is now, this will demotivate me to keep my excitement over the future of this industry.

Reason #4 - Lack of self regard:

Video games have come a long way since their conception, but they still have a long way to go. In order to improve the experiences of today and perfect the ones of tomorrow, we must learn from the past.

For this purpose, case studies have been created around games that are the best this industry has to offer to date, in order to understand what made them so special, but not everyone agrees that we should study games in depth.

Two years ago, I watched a video posted by the YouTube channel Extra Credits titled “Art is Not The Opposite of Fun” (above). As video games continue to become more complex, a worrying trend also emerges.

A portion of gamers believes that making a deep analysis of the products of this industry will make them worse. They claim video games are meant to be fun and studying them, in order to craft deeper experiences and develop their potential as a form of artistic expression, would hinder the fun they deliver.  

People perceive art as something boring or weird and some gamers fear that making games become more artistic will lessen their fun.

I must say, unfortunately, that I have witnessed this trend occur with my friends. In many occasions, when trying to talk about a game in a deeper sense, my peers would simply say, “it is just a game”, in an urge for me to stop “overthinking” about it.

If I speak about the potential games have to deliver experiences of art, people automatically assume I wish to make games become as boring and weird as people perceive art to be.

The image below portraits the reactions I get when I mention the development of games as a form of art.

“It is just a game”, this assumption needs to go.

We cannot demand better experiences if we, as a community, are not willing to mature along with this industry. The games designers create are a mirror that reflects us. They want us to buy their games; therefore, they create products to suit our needs.

With this said; if we are to ask for better content, we must grow together with the industry and attempt to discuss our games in a deeper level and that means embracing the possibility of having games as an artistic product.

Creating more artistic games; however, will not be easy. As Reason #2 stated, players can react negatively if games change in a way that makes them loose their essence, as happened with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

With this said, the trick to making games mature as a form of art, without making them lose their fun, is ensuring that developers do not deviate entirely from what makes games special today.

Aiming for the future, whilst staying true to the past of games should be the goal of developers, so they may deliver productions with great artistic value, that are still fun to play.

But as the video from Extra Credits explains, there is a hidden reason as to why many gamers vilify those who study video games in depth.

They do not want games to change.

Many gamers love their favorite titles so much that they want them to remain as they are forever and as developers study new ways of delivering experiences through gaming, some gamers fear that the aspects they cherished dearly in their favorite titles will be a part of the past, buried seven feet under.

Whilst this is a comprehensible concern, we as an industry must acknowledge the potential video games hold for the future and unfortunately, techniques from yesterday may not entertain the audiences of tomorrow.

We must learn from the past, but never copy from it. We shall adapt what made games great today to the new reality of the future that is yet to come, but in a careful manner, so we do not lose the essence of gaming. We must evolve from where we stand, rather than creating something new.

This will be achieved through discussions on the topic, among professionals from AAA companies, indie studios and gamers, who should not think that games are “just games”.

AAA studios spend time and resources, in order to learn as much as possible about the art and science of game design. but if their target audience continues to diminish their efforts and they do not make a significant impact in revenue, studios may downscale these researches and progress in this industry may become stagnant.

Given that the biggest factor that compels me to video games is the prospect they possess, if this scenario occurs, I may have to reconsider what my favorite form of entertainment is.

Reason #5 - Lack of cultural plurality:

According to Newzoo, the top ten list for largest video game markets in the world looks as follows:

It is possible to see that the top ten rank is populated exclusively by countries from Asia, North America and Europe and it is no surprise that the major AAA studios in this industry are located in these continents, but other contenders are appearing quickly.

India, Brazil and Russia are examples of emerging markets in the video game industry and their indie scene is growing rapidly. Due to the expansion of the middle classes in these nations, more people have gained the financial resources to afford a computer and work on a game with their peers.

If you do not live in an emerging economy, you may ask - “Does this affect me?”

Yes, it does and a lot.

The emergence of these economies can bring plenty of benefits to the video game industry. The countries mentioned herein have cultures that differ vastly from the nations that dominate game development.

Individuals from these emerging markets have a different perspective over the world, due to a different culture, and this influences the products they create.

The different culture and set of beliefs from these developers in emerging countries makes them tackle different themes and explore new ideas, because they look at games through a different set of lenses.

Every gamer benefits from this, because this growth of the industry in emerging nations will allow players from all over the world to enjoy new experiences, themes, ideas and a more culturally rich industry.  

The best example of cultural plurality benefiting the video game industry as whole was the development of games in Japan and how they differed from the games designed in the United States.

The video game industry in American soil develops mostly FPS games, in which the gun is seen as a tool to empower the player against the foes. In Japanese productions, on the other hand, a gun is perceived as an extension of the character and used as a mean to escape from a situation where everything went wrong. In Japan, the gun is a last resort.

This occurs due to a difference in culture. In the United States, guns are seen through the lenses of soldiers, whereas in Japan, they are perceived under the philosophy of the samurai.

With this reasoning, Japanese developers created games such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Metal Gear Solid (above), each of these productions representing a revolution in the industry.

If Japan had not invested in video games, many contributions of this country to this industry would not have happened. Now, imagine if more countries start to emerge and establish video game studios.

In the future, we may see several revolutions in this industry, as developers from various part of the worlds, with different cultures, would look at games in a different manner, as happened with Japan.

The biggest concern for this future; however, is politics. In emerging nations, unfortunately, corruption rates are very high, as seen in the map below, presented by Transparency International.

In the emerging countries, a corruption scandal can suddenly become public and change the entire governmental structure. Despite living in the USA for a period of my life, I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I currently reside.

Our former president, Dilma Rousseff, lost the presidency after a political scandal, being accused of improper use of government money. After the current president, Michel Temer, took control, the direction of the country changed drastically.

As everything may change with the blink of an eye in developing countries, due to the corruption levels thereat, the promising landscape of the middle class and the video game industry in these locations may shift suddenly as well and not for the better.

With few unfortunate moves, a government may wither the development of the video game industry in its soil, by halting the social progress done in the last few years.

It may happen in Brazil, as Michel Temer promises to cut social programs, which were intended to allow the population to raise above the poverty line. This can happen in Russia, India and any other developing country, where instability rules.

The middle class in these nations progressed quickly, but it might go the other way around just as fast, depending on which way the wind blows in the government.

I dream of a future in which the plurality of cultures making video games increases significantly; however, the political scenario might shift in a manner that stops the progress of the gaming industry in developing countries.

If this occurs, we may never see the cultural diversity they would bring to this industry and this lost potential could demotivate, because the future I envision would not happen.

 

Reason #6 - Lack of social engagement:

If you are reading this article, it means you have an interest in the video game industry and there probably has been people in your life who have claimed that gaming is a fruitless activity; a waste of time.

Luckily, not everyone adopts this reasoning. Some individuals recognize the superb job video games have done to retain the attention of their users. Some people even go further and reckon that video games have potential to save the world.

In your job or at school, you have probably felt at some point that you could not clearly see the reason as to why you are performing certain tasks. You perhaps felt demotivated to go on.

If you felt this way, you are not alone. According to Forbes, most Americans are unhappy at work. The reason varies from not seeing the impact their jobs have, to a detachment from the mission of the company. 

Video games; however, are on the opposite side of the trend, as they continue to become increasingly more engaging, but playing a game consists of completing tasks, as in a real life job. With this said, what makes people become attracted with doing virtual work, whilst they become more dissatisfied with their real life jobs?

In a video game, players feel empowered. They relate with the objective of the experience and most importantly, they receive a clear an immediate feedback upon completing a task. They see how their actions influences the virtual universe around them. They have a clear sense of progression. This motivates players to continue.

In real life, there is no such thing. Reality is broken.

In her book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change The World, Jane McGonigal tells how we can craft a better world through gaming.

In her piece, she shares the techniques game designers use, in order to motivate players to become engaged in a video game. Her objective is to apply these techniques to real life situations, so they become more interesting and people become happier with their endeavors.

Using concepts from game design in non-game contexts is known as Gamification and it can be used to motivate people to engage in various activities, including those that can help others and save the world.

In 2007, McGonigal released an Alternate Reality Game, called World Without Oil. It was an experiment in which users needed to imagine themselves in a world suffering from a sudden oil shortage.

Players needed to work together, in order to create practical solutions to adapt to this new reality. The data gathered in this game has the intent of saving the world one day, as its Wikipedia article states:

By playing it out in a serious way, the game aimed to apply collective intelligence and imagination to the problem in advance, and create a record that has value for educators, policymakers, and the common people to help anticipate the future and prevent its worst outcomes. ”

We can see examples of video games causing positive impact even when they do not have the intention. The prime example is Pokemon Go stimulating sedentary individuals to go for a walk and sometimes even aiding to treat depression.

The potential video games have to retain the attention of users can be used to benefit society as whole, in various fields, including social change, happiness at work and even education, as the video below, from Extra Credits, explains:

The trend of using gaming for social good may help the video game industry to cleanse its reputation of “fruitless”, whilst actively changing the world. This premise should excite every gamer, but if it fails to continue, it might demotivate me to stick with this industry.

Conclusion:

It is my sincere wish to see the video game industry thrive, for I believe it holds enormous potential in the areas mentioned herein and many more, which I did not cite in this article for the sake of its length.

While I enjoy the games of today, what makes me place video games on top of my priority list is the bright prospect of this industry. If for some reason, the brilliant future of gaming does not occur, I will continue to play, but my perception of this field as the ultimate entertainment platform will most likely change. 

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Last Chance to Grab Free Xbox One/360 Games With Gold https://www.gameskinny.com/nhdx1/last-chance-to-grab-free-xbox-one360-games-with-gold https://www.gameskinny.com/nhdx1/last-chance-to-grab-free-xbox-one360-games-with-gold Fri, 30 Sep 2016 08:36:25 -0400 Brawler1993

Do you own an Xbox One? Are you subscribed to Xbox Live Gold? Do you like free games? Then you're gonna need to move quickly because today's the last day for September's "Games With Gold" line-up.

Two of the three available titles - turn-based RPG Earthshock: Festival of Magic and the first-person runner Mirror's Edge - will be removed by the end of the day, following Forza Horizon's removal earlier in the month (which will soon be leaving the Xbox Store entirely).

The third title, Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China - the first entry in Ubisoft's spin-off series from 2015 - will still be available, however, until October 15th.

If any of these titles take your fancy, you can click the links below to go straight to the Xbox Store. October's line-up will begin tomorrow and will include the self explanatory Super Mega Baseball and another Ubisoft adventure game, I Am Alive.

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September's Xbox Live Games With Gold Reveals Another Big Lineup https://www.gameskinny.com/4z2p3/septembers-xbox-live-games-with-gold-reveals-another-big-lineup https://www.gameskinny.com/4z2p3/septembers-xbox-live-games-with-gold-reveals-another-big-lineup Thu, 25 Aug 2016 07:07:58 -0400 Angie Harvey

September's Games with Gold reveals another big lineup for current Xbox Live subscribers. September will see a total of four free games, with the Xbox One and 360 both receiving two dedicated titles each. Xbox One users will also be able to utilize the backward compatibility feature to play both of the titles that are on offer for the Xbox 360. 

Xbox Live subscribers will be able to experience the following games for free throughout the month of September.

Available on Xbox One

Earthlock: Festival of Magic ($29.99) - The anticipated modern turn-based role-playing game is set to launch on September 1, and will be available for free all the way up to September 30. 

Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China ($9.99) - The 2.5D stealth platformer provides a brand new unique take on the classic Assassin's Creed series. The game will be available for free starting from September 16 to October 15.

Available on Xbox 360

Forza Horizon ($19.99) - The backwards capability open-world racing game will be available from September 1 to September 15. Also to be noted is that backwards capability racing titles will now support Xbox One wheels. 

Mirror's Edge ($14.99) - The critically acclaimed first-person parkour game will be available for free from September 16 to September 30.

Let us know your thoughts on this month's Games with Gold lineup in the comments section below!

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10 Dumbest Lawsuits in Gaming History https://www.gameskinny.com/wn4sj/10-dumbest-lawsuits-in-gaming-history https://www.gameskinny.com/wn4sj/10-dumbest-lawsuits-in-gaming-history Sun, 07 Aug 2016 06:30:01 -0400 Donald Strohman

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Edge Games Vs Anything 'Edge'

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Mirror's Edge, Edge of Nowhere, Edge Magazine. Oh you're all in for it now! How dare you use a word so common as "Edge" in your name, when clearly Edge Games should own 100% of the trademark and profit off it. Meanwhile, Sony should also own "Let's Play" videos, the the Fine Brothers should hold a monopoly over people's reactions to YouTube shorts. 

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Sound asinine to you? Well, it apparently didn't for Edge Games, as in 2010 they attempted to sue Electronic Arts for publishing the game Mirror's Edge. Not because they found it disappointing or anything, but because it contained the word "edge," a word they had attempted to trademark. They also tried to make the words "cutting edge", "the edge", and "gamer's edge" a trademark of their company. An entire game titled Edge had to be removed from App stores, as Edge Games founder Tim Langdell had threatened to take legal action against the game's creators, claiming he owned the world trademark for the word "edge." 

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Thankfully, this didn't go over so well for Edge Games, as the trademark office eventually threw out all five claims for the phrases. Like Paris Hilton trying to market "That's Hot" or Donald Trump trying to trademark all things moronic in nature, Edge Games eventually faded into obscurity once the lawsuit vanished alongside their reputation.

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Have a juicy lawsuit we missed? Did someone sue Geico after contracting salmonella from a gecko? How about someone taking up claims against McDonald's for running out of nuggets? Be sure to comment and let us know what your favorite, completely ridiculous, lawsuit has been over the years, whether it's related to video games or not!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/1/ab10-ca3e1.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/1/ab10-ca3e1.png","type":"slide","id":"128964","description":"

Wilson Vs Midway Games

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All kids are bound to do something stupid when they're young. Sometimes they learn it from their parents, other times they learn it from watching television. But whatever small mistake they do make is usually harmless. Something that just warrants a simple life lesson and a slap on the wrist, to ensure they'll never do such a silly imitation ever again. That is unless they decide to murder their friend or something. 

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Thirteen year old Noah Wilson was killed by his friend Yancy Salazar, who was also thirteen. As tragic as the event was, and as understandable as it is for parents to be grief-stricken, the Wilson family chose not to put the blame on Salazar, but rather the video game Mortal Kombat he happened to enjoy playing. Andrea Wilson, the victim's mother, claimed that Salazar was so obsessed with the game, his reality was obscured and made him believe he was a Mortal Kombat character and tried to perform a fatality move on his friend. The case was dismissed when Wilson's "complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." 

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I guess you could say the end result of this lawsuit was a FLAWLESS VICTORY for Midways Games. I'm going to hell, aren't I? 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/8/ab8-c55a6.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/8/ab8-c55a6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"128962","description":"

Jack Thompson Vs Bully

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So now it's the third time Rockstar Games' controversy has been mentioned in this slideshow. It also marks the second time Jack Thompson has been showcased as the lawsuit aggressor. I'm sensing a pattern here. 

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Released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2, Bully was immediately met with a whirlwind of backlash from naysayers. While critics and audiences praised the game for it's anti-bullying message and fun narrative, people who hadn't experienced the title immediately claimed it was a game that rewarded bullies and encouraged children to be aggressive. Jack Thompson, once again, filed a lawsuit against Rockstar Games, wishing for the game to be banned from store shelves. The judge ruled that the game's "vicious" content was nothing that couldn't already be seen on late night television. And seeing as how Thompson is as mature of an adult as can be, he ridiculed the judge for allowing such a "toxic game" to continue being sold. Freedom of speech is a funny thing sometimes. 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/6/ab6-150af.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/6/ab6-150af.jpg","type":"slide","id":"128960","description":"

Silicon Knights Vs Epic Games

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It's one thing to make a bad game. You just have to pick yourself up, and try something better next time around. It's an entirely different matter, on the other hand, when you blame a developer that had nothing to do with creating the game for your end product being bad.

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Too Human turned out to be a pretty big disappointment for Xbox 360 fans. However, instead of developer Silicon Knights admitting fault for their mediocre adventure title, they instead turned around and sued Epic Games for an alleged breach of contract. They even went so far as to claim Epic Games withheld code to intentionally make Too Human doomed from the start. And yet, this lawsuit actually backfired for Silicon Knights, as Epic Games was awarded $4.5 million in damages, all while Silicon Knights was forced to recall unsold copies of Too Human from store shelves. 

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Too Human? No, it sounds like Silicon Knights was just being Too Stupid

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/1/ab11-4f90e.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/1/ab11-4f90e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"128965","description":"

The Romantics Vs Activision 

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I'm sure everyone reading this has picked up a plastic guitar and rocked out to Guitar Hero at one point or another in their lives. And while the games were relevant before their bubble popped, everyone was having a blast with the games. So, of course, plenty of bands and artists wanted their songs to be a part of the games. You would think giving written permission to use your song in a video game would be more than enough of a reminder to not try and sue the developer, but apparently the old grumps formally known as The Romantics had forgotten to take their morning pills. 

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In 2007, the rock group The Romantics attempted to sue developer/publisher Activision for including a close cover version of their song "What I Like About You." With the group demanding the song be removed from Guitar Hero titles, a federal judge in Detroit denied the claim, noting that Activision "did exactly what the company was supposed to do" in securing music copyright permission.

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Broken and defeated, lead singer Wall Palmar hobbled back home in disgust, where he immediately started planning a new single titled "What I Don't Like about Activision."   

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/7/ab7-40632.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/7/ab7-40632.jpg","type":"slide","id":"128961","description":"

Jack Thompson Vs Manhunt

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Hey you, check it out! It's everyone's favorite video game slanderer Jack Thompson! You know who he is, he's the man who continuously tries to ban games he thinks are "too scary" for people, and that parents can't be trusted to decide if their child is mature enough to play a game or not. 

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Rockstar Games is no stranger to controversy (please see the first slide if for whatever reason you skipped over that.) However, all that initial controversy seems like nothing compared to the murder of fourteen year old Stefan Pakeerah. When seventeen year old Warren Leblanc was linked to his friend's murder, a copy of Manhunt was found in his possession. So of course, everyone blamed it as the reason Leblanc became a murderer, as it's not like Leblanc should take responsibility  for committing the act or anything. 

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Believing Rockstar was wholly to blame, Jack Thompson attempted to have the game banned from American store shelves. Although this lawsuit fell through, it's not like Manhunt 2 fared any better in the wake of controversy. Some feared that the Wii version of Manhunt 2 would have the player simulate stabbing their victims by wielding the controller as a knife. The problem was that said news outlets never realized how inaccurate the Wii motion controls can be. 

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It's considered an offense to own a copy of Manhunt in New Zealand. So while everyone else is whining about how Rockstar is trying to corrupt our youth and brainwash them into becoming killers, I'll just go ahead and play my AO rated copy of Manhunt 2 on my laptop, thank you very much. 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/4/ab4-62069.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/4/ab4-62069.jpg","type":"slide","id":"128958","description":"

No Doubt Vs Activision 

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One would think that if you were letting a game studio use your likeness in an upcoming title, you would try to become familiar with said franchise before letting them do so. Said idea must not have crossed No Doubt lead singer Gwen Stefani's mind, however, as she took offense to her video game character being able to sing in a male's voice (if the in-game song was already sung by a man.)

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No Doubt brought up a lawsuit against Activision, and their game Band Hero, just a day after its release. Despite being told from the get-go that in-game avatars would be capable of this after being unlocked, No Doubt still found a problem with Gwen Stefani's image not being restricted to just No Doubt songs. The case was settled out of court with undisclosed terms, and no mention of who was awarded what.

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There's No Doubt in my mind that this lawsuit was just plain ridiculous. But Gwen Stefani is "Just a Girl," and must have felt like she was "Trapped in a Box" by her in-game likeness. After all, she didn't want to come off as a "Hollaback Girl" (oh wait, No Doubt didn't make that one, crap...) 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/3/ab3-3e425.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/3/ab3-3e425.jpg","type":"slide","id":"128957","description":"

Universal Studios Vs Nintendo

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King Kong, Donkey Kong, Konga LinesYou'd think companies would trust us to know the difference, but that's not how Universal Studios saw things.

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On June 29, 1982, Universal sued Nintendo over the character of Donkey Kong, claiming it was too close of a resemblance to their King Kong character. And it's not like Donkey Kong was scaling the Empire State Building or anything in Super Mario Bros (unless you happen to look at the photograph and think I'm lying, spoiler alert, that's a joke image,) all you needed to have was a giant gorilla becoming too popular, and Universal was bound to swoop in and take all your money.

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What Universal failed to realize was that they had used an argument in a previous court case that could be utilized against them. Universal had stated that the characters and scenarios of King Kong were open to public domain. Meaning, whether Donkey Kong was too close of a resemblance to King Kong or not, it was completely irrelevant as the character couldn't be subject to copyright. Nintendo won the case and was awarded $1.8 million in damages. Universal later tried to appeal the ruling, but the verdict was upheld. 

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While it proved to be successful for Nintendo, showcasing to the world they were capable of taking on bigger name companies, this lawsuit just made Universal look like a bunch of baboons. 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/9/ab9-aa20e.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/9/ab9-aa20e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"128963","description":"

The Olsen Twins Vs Acclaim Entertainment 

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Every celebrity wants their fifteen minutes of fame. It just so happens that for Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, their fifteen minutes of fame peaked when they were younger than fifteen. Seriously, these two young blondes were everywhere in the 90s'. Television shows, movies, cheap toys made in a Chinese sweatshop, their young adolescent faces were popping up more often than Justin Bieber's mugshot. 

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And then their young celebrity bubble popped. So, like the adults they were, they obviously just took note of their failures and tried to take their careers in a new direction, all without blaming anyone else for said shortcomings, right? Well, as it turns out, their line of video games hadn't been doing so well, and they were the first to be blamed for the twins' dwindling fame. 

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When Acclaim pulled the plug on the Mary Kate and Ashley series of games, the twins hired a lawyer to sue Acclaim for $180,000 in damages, remarking how the publisher "blatantly abandoned the Mary Kate and Ashley brand and has taken the brand in video games which had flourished and has now run it into the ground." After all, it's not like their acting careers have been driven into the ground since then.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/2/ab2-d82f6.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/2/ab2-d82f6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"128956","description":"

Lindsay Lohan Vs Rockstar Games

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Anyone who seems to take pride in their cocaine-ridden public image certainly needs some form of psychiatric help. That, or actress Lindsay Lohan might be desperately trying to raise enough money for Disney to finally make her film memoir Confessions of a Meth Addict Drama Queen.

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Grand Theft Auto V was a smash success across the world, receiving praise from critics and gamers alike for its dark humor, open world gameplay, and plethora of missions to take part in. However, Lindsay Lohan, a once fairly prominent actress in her glory days, didn't appear to love it as much as everyone else. That blonde lady on the game's cover art, in-game celebrity Lacey Jonas? Yea, Lohan claims Rockstar Games ripped the character off of her real life, Disney-downfall personality. I don't know what's worse, someone openly admitting that their existence is a close match to a washed up celebrity caricature, or the fact that the lawsuit is still on-going.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/1/ab1-bc741.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/1/ab1-bc741.jpg","type":"slide","id":"128955","description":"

There's a reason the Darwin Awards exist; people can be idiots. You know someone, somewhere, at some point in time decided to have a bleach drinking context, because product labels now have to indicate that you totally shouldn't decide to ingest cleaning chemicals. And why did companies decide to start labeling everything as dangerous if not handled properly? Because the same idiots who drank all that bleach decided it was Clorox's fault for not warning them about the satisfying tingling sensation/inner third degree burns that would be laced down their trachea.

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Lawsuits are about as common as air molecules Some are genuinely needed by people have been wronged by a party, others are just lawfully invalid and will be thrown out the moment they reach a desk. However, in rarer cases, one lawsuit pops up that is just so laughably insane that every news outlet will be reporting on it. In fact, some of these most ridiculous lawsuits happen to originate from the video game industry itself. So sit back, relax, pour yourself a cup of Clorox, and enjoy learning about ten of the dumbest video game lawsuits that have ever graced the industry. 

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10 Games You Can Finish In Just One Weekend https://www.gameskinny.com/o3pfz/10-games-you-can-finish-in-just-one-weekend https://www.gameskinny.com/o3pfz/10-games-you-can-finish-in-just-one-weekend Wed, 29 Jun 2016 09:47:48 -0400 Brandon Morgan

A lot of gamers don't have the time to devote to 100-hour single-player campaign, which is what we see in a lot of recent role-playing games. (We're looking at you, The Witcher 3!)

Thankfully, there are plenty of titles out there in the world with relatively short campaigns. You can complete any one of these ten games in just a single weekend! If you marathon the story mode, then perhaps you can finish two or three in the same time span.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

If you're looking for a truly heartwarming, fantastic tale that revolves around two brothers traversing a mystical world filled with giants and other creatures, then A Tale of Two Sons is what you're after. The game can be completed within 3 or 4 hours, which makes up a single sitting for most people these days.

Basically, the left and right joystick on a controller will control one of the brothers, respectively. This particular mechanic may be a little disorienting at first, but once you get your bearings, the gameplay is a breeze. A few small puzzle are also scattered throughout, but they're pretty simple to beat.

Journey

Journey, a PlayStation exclusive title, is the type of adventure game most people can get behind. The story mode will take anywhere between 3 and 5 hours to finish.

Throughout the gameplay, the player will climb and evade various dangers, make a few new companions, and explore the wonderful world that appears to be in a state of flux.

A single light shining in the sky will guide you to the top of the mountain.

Deadlight

Deadlight is an interesting indie game about a man on a quest to find his wife and daughter in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. The game is set in a 1980s version of Seattle, and allows the player to focus on an exploration style of gameplay instead of hardy combat like most zombie games.

The 2D/3D mixed game will take between 4 to 5 hours to finish in its entirety. Some puzzles may give you a bit of trouble, but overall the game is really streamlined and easy to pick up and play.

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable is a personal favorite in the adventure genre. You, the player, have total control over the movements and direction you take. The story is quite philosophical, and has plenty of comedy interjected within the dialogue.

While you may not be in total control of everything that happens, the ride to the end is well worth the time it takes. You can usually see all of the endings within 1 to 4 hours, though that may vary depending on how long you take to move through the stark office hallways.

Of course, there are multiple endings to discover, and some will simply lead to your demise. So be wary of your choices or what turn you happen to make early on.

Portal

Sure, you could play Portal 2, but the original is just something special to enjoy. This 3D puzzle game is best played with a buddy or your significant other, but make sure they have anywhere between 3 to 5 hours to sit down and complete the puzzling story.

There are multiple mazes, a few logic puzzles, and a quirky robot to contend with. Be sure to power up your portal guns beforehand!

Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami is a violent thrill ride fueled by drugs, sex, and more than a little splattering of blood. The 8-bit top-down title should make you cringe on more than one occasion -- and not just because of the difficulty, which can get downright mean sometimes. If you have a good 5 to 6 hours to spend, invest that into this violent rabbit hole.

The player has no idea why they are being given these missions, but you will require a quick trigger finger to accomplish each of them. 

If you tend to rage-quit video games easily, then perhaps you should skip this particular game.

The Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us is probably one of the best choose-your-own-adventure titles released by developer Telltale Games. The title is split up into five different episodes, each one ending with a little cliffhanger to pull you into the next. You can complete all three in anywhere between 10 to 14 hours.

While the end-game tends to be a bit scripted, the choices you make to get there are totally dependent upon you and how you're feeling at that particular moment. Each choice generally comes in the form of a dialogue option or a quick-time event.

Mirror's Edge

The first Mirror's Edge is a wonderful first-person platformer that focuses solely on free-running, which is often referred to as parkour by the French crowds. The single-player game focuses on nonviolent confrontations, which means you won't be wielding any firearms or swords to topple. There is no Mature content included, so even a teenager can take some time off from school and beat it within 10 hours.

Some of the gameplay tends to be on the tough side, so be prepared for a few difficult spots here and there. 

If you enjoy this one, you can also pick up the recently released reboot, Mirror's Edge Catalyst.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Silent Hill is an iconic survival horror franchise, so it is safe to say this is not for the faint of heart. For those with an iron stomach, however, you can beat Shattered Memories within 7 to 8 hours, depending on how long it takes to complete a few puzzles and run away from enemies. Trust us, you won't be fighting them all.

This is a psuedo remake of the original game, with familiar characters and a plot line that is pretty similar overall.

If you're looking to reinvigorate your love of the survival horror genre within the span of just two days, then this is a great start.

Spec Ops: The Line

Spec Ops: The Line is one of those shooters that simply makes you think about the actions portrayed. While you have no direct control over what happens to the characters or the civilians in the game, you will receive a front-line ticket to this wild ride.

The psychological mechanics within the single-player campaign should make anyone stop and wonder for a second or two. The shooting is overall pretty simple and fluid, though it can feel clunky depending on the weapon you're using at the time.

Overall, you can complete the game in around 7 to 8 hours.

While there are plenty of video games you could complete within a weekend, you certainly couldn't do better than these ten. Each one should leave you with a memory or two.

What are your favorite games to beat in a single weekend? Let me know down in the comments!

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Waiting for Catalyst https://www.gameskinny.com/v5g4t/waiting-for-catalyst https://www.gameskinny.com/v5g4t/waiting-for-catalyst Fri, 03 Jun 2016 05:30:01 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

It was November of 2008 when EA and DICE released an unknown game titled Mirror's Edge. It was created because the developer wanted a fresh new game that no one had seen before. I was in high school at the time. I only played Madden NFL, Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto and I was scared to try new games because I didn't want to spend my money on a game I wouldn't like.

After school one day, my friend and I went to the local game store because we wanted a new game to play. We didn't want another sports game or another typical shooter. We wanted something new -- something that we had never played before. That was when we found Mirror's Edge.

I explored the game box and found out what it was about -- a runner named Faith, whose main mission was to deliver messages without government surveillance. The description didn't sell me on the game, but when I saw that it was all first person, I decided to give it a shot. I put the disk into my Xbox 360 and entered Faith's world. Jumping off of buildings and using parkour to move over rooftops was something I never knew I would enjoy so much. While the story was on the short side, the gameplay and graphics were beautiful. The city that Faith was jumping and running around was breathtaking. The color schemes were simple and made the objectives clear.

Once I finished the campaign, I was ready for more because Mirror's Edge had just become my favorite game of all-time.

Fast forward 5 years.

I had just finished building my gaming PC and started buying games so I can take full advantage of it. The first game I purchased was Mirror's Edge. I had already played it and knew what was going to happen, but I felt that this game deserves to be on my computer. When I decided to play it again, it felt like I was playing it for the first time. With each jump, I felt myself jumping with Faith, with each runaway scene I felt like they were actually chasing me.

After I finished it again, I started thinking about why there hadn't been a sequel yet. Sure, it didn't sell as many copies as a Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto would, but there were plenty of other gamers that loved this game just like me.

Then that same year at the Electronics Entertainment Expo, EA put on their conference. I was watching at home with my friends. In the middle of the conference, the lights dimmed, a new trailer started to play. A girl getting a tattoo on her arm.

I started to think that this isn't happening, could this be? Then the video cut to gameplay of the new Mirror's Edge.

I jumped out of my seat with excitement as the trailer showed footage of a game that I have been waiting for since 2008. I was filled with joy as EA confirmed a new Mirror's Edge title was in the works. They didn't give out any other information at the time. It wasn't until 2015 that they announced that this game would be a reboot of the Mirror's Edge universe and it would be titled Mirror's Edge: Catalyst.


In early 2016 there was a closed beta for this anticipated game. I was lucky enough to play it -- and I didn't think that this game could have gotten better, but it did. It looked gorgeous, the running was fantastic as always, and the fighting sequences seemed to play out much more smoothly. This game is what all Mirror's Edge fans have been waiting for, and I know that this new title will welcome new gamers to the City of Glass and to the world of runners.

I have faith (pun intended) that when this game comes out on June 7, the City of Glass will be filled with fans of the original and new fans that will fall in love with this game like I did in 2008.

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Mirror’s Edge Catalyst - Warming up for Tomorrows Release https://www.gameskinny.com/x1hul/mirrors-edge-catalyst-warming-up-for-tomorrows-release https://www.gameskinny.com/x1hul/mirrors-edge-catalyst-warming-up-for-tomorrows-release Sun, 05 Jun 2016 19:30:01 -0400 Pierre Fouquet

Mirror's Edge Catalyst is out tomorrow, June 7, in North America, and is coming June 9 for Europe. It will be available on Xbox One, PS4, and Windows PCs via Origin.

The game is a prequel, reboot, and redesign of the 2008 game, Mirror's Edge. Unfortunately, this does effectively mean all the events in Mirror's Edge will not happen, but it allowed DICE to create a new Faith -- who is just as badass.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst is focusing on momentum, with both the combat and traversal. Taking out the use of guns has forced DICE to improve the hand-to-hand combat, adding in a side step and light/heavy attacks. And that's not all. There are also some traversal gadgets -- primarily the MAG Rope, which allows Faith to grapple onto specific surveillance cameras around the world, and gain access to new areas.

All of the tools and movement abilities available to Faith in Mirror's Edge Catalyst allow the player to play much more how they want. With an upgrade tree, and an open world, you can now express yourself far more. Will you fight hard, or focus on the pure bliss of fluid motion? Let me know in the comments!

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Mirror's Edge - Looking Back at Past Reflections https://www.gameskinny.com/cnakp/mirrors-edge-looking-back-at-past-reflections https://www.gameskinny.com/cnakp/mirrors-edge-looking-back-at-past-reflections Mon, 02 May 2016 05:14:28 -0400 Pierre Fouquet

It's amazing to think that Mirror's Edge was released way last decade, 8 years ago in 2008. With the age of Mirror's Edge, when jumping back into the game I expected it to make me feel old and wonder how the years passed. Instead, it feels like it could have been released last week. Running, sliding, climbing, and jumping all feel fresh, new, and smooth. Now I'm not saying the game is perfect -- the combat is still awful, and the voice acting can feel a little dated. But those are small prices to pay for everything else.

mirror's edge mirrors dice ea jumping

With an 8 year old game, I can't expect younger readers to have played it or even know about it. If you are one of those people, I urge you to grab it. If you don't have an Xbox 360, it's backwards compatible with Xbox One, and works perfectly on Windows.

I'm starting with pretty much the only negative point of Mirror's Edge, so don't feel put off by it, but...

Let's get the combat over with then

With the above in mind, I will explain how the combat works -- I say 'works', but it doesn't really work sometimes. That's an issue which looks to be fixed in Mirror's Edge: Catalyst.

Luckily combat arenas are few and far between, with many allowing you to run past them.

Depending on your stance, speed, and what you are doing, your attacks change. If you are sliding, you will kick up to the crotch, if jumping you will do a flying kick to the face. Attacks can even work when wall running, but it's very fiddly to actually land said attack. (Which, coincidentally is the rest of the combat system.)

Where just punching and kicking feels good, and flowing from running to combat is smooth, as soon as you complete that initial attack everything just stops. You start the slow process of disarming, where you have to wait for your enemies -- the Blues -- to swing their guns at you. At a very specific point the guns will glow red. This is essentially a QTE where you simply press the grab button and Faith with disarm her adversary. Any sense of flow has been destroyed at this point.

It's frustrating and unnecessary for Mirror's Edge to have done this. The easiest way to complete the combat arena at this point is pick up a gun, and shoot your way out -- so much for parkour. Mirror's Edge is simply not built to be a robust shooter, with AI that sometimes does intelligent things, but mostly just waits. Luckily, combat arenas are few and far between, with many allowing you to run past them.

Thankfully, combat is the only thing which doesn't work, and Mirror's Edge: Catalyst has done away with shooting to focus on fusing running with combat so it flows.

mirror's edge mirrors dice ea jumping

By Jorge did I forget how much I enjoy Mirror's Edge. The world, the story, even the characters, everything.

Faith alone won't get you where you're going, but...She will
...awesome eye and arm tattoos, while also taking lessons from the Michael Jackson school of the single glove...

Mirror's Edge follows the story of Faith, a Runner in a dystopian future city -- the City of Glass -- as she and other runners try to take down the evil dictators who are controlling the city. On the outside, the City of Glass looks perfect. Everything is pristine at all times, it's modern, sleek, beautiful, and ordered. All of this came at the cost of freedom. Every action you take, every move you make, the government will be watching you. They control everything through fear and lies.

The Runners are trying to bring freedom back, none more so than Faith. With awesome eye and arm tattoos, (plus lessons from the Michael Jackson school of the single glove), Faith is one of the most badass women in video games. Faith isn't just any Runner, she is the Runner.

Gameplay is interjected with first person cutscenes, which are also interspersed with cartoon cutscenes. The animated sections feature limited action, and are mostly story and character building. While these are likely due to the small budget of Mirror's Edge, restrictions always breed creativity, and with great animation comes great character interaction. Some of the voice acting and writing isn't what we all expect from modern games, but it does just enough to make everything believable -- another probable consequence of the lower budget.

mirror's edge mirrors dice ea Zip line wire

Traversal, toe shoes, flow, bliss

Much like with any of the best action films, character is revealed through action. This is the case with Faith -- the way she moves through the city gives you an idea of how she thinks. By being able to flow from one thing to another, it tells you she is forward thinking. By being nimble and fast, it tells you she is quick thinking and intelligent. By being able to disarm any enemy, it tells you she is strong willed. By being able to quickly change direction and tactics at will, shows that she is ready for anything. That said, maybe I am just reading too far into it all.

You just never want to fall due to the horrible bone crunching sound of death. Amazing, yet horrifying.

Either way, just moving through the City of Glass is all about momentum. The feeling you get from smoothly transitioning from one rooftop to another, going from platform to platform, the fear of jumping and satisfaction of landing a giant leap, when you have a sense of flow everything is pure movement bliss. You just never want to fall due to the horrible bone crunching sound of death. Amazing, yet horrifying.

Even the slow, methodical, thoughtful platforming is fun. Finding the route of your choice through a technical obstacle looks like a maze at first. Working your way up or down this maze is...Well, amazing. Transitioning from the flowing open roof tops, to the platforming of complicated networks of ledges, pipes, and horizontal poles, and back again feels wonderful.

There are sections where you are being chased, or chasing someone. When being pursued you feel the pursuers breathing down your neck. You want to look back to know where they are, but you can't. If you look back, you will have to stop (or at least slow down), but what if they are right there? You stop, you're dead. The tension is a testament to how smooth the movement is. You might make a mistake, but you never need to think "what if the game doesn't let me go there." You can get there using the abilities at your disposal -- you just need to work out find how.

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst is cutting away the chaff
By refining, and redefining the core of what Mirror's Edge is...

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst is coming out June 7th for North America, and June 9th for everyone else, releasing on Xbox One, PS4, and Windows. Are you excited? I have faith it will be good. Revisiting Mirror's Edge reminded me of how special a game it really is, and for the first time in a long time I'm excited for a game from EA. From a publisher who constantly disappoints me with their business model, Catalyst looks to be once again breaking the mold.

By refining, and redefining the core of what Mirror's Edge is, the team at DICE really do look like they are doing the original proud. By cutting away the bullshit combat and really focusing on making combat and movement stitch together seamlessly, Catalyst looks to be the true vision of what Mirror's Edge wanted to be.

It's just a testament to how good the original game is, that even after 8 years, it still feels fresh and new. Other games have come close to the highs of Mirror's Edge. Lemma came closest, but even with the ability to create your own walls to run along, Lemma still doesn't feel as freeing as Mirror's Edge. (Even if the game is set in a city being run by corporate greed, where doing anything other than your prescribed route in life is a felony and all freedoms are replaced with convenience.) That tells you a lot about the game.

Here's to finally getting another Mirror's Edge.

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4 highly anticipated games that EA could f**k up in 2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/5wjpm/4-highly-anticipated-games-that-ea-could-fk-up-in-2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/5wjpm/4-highly-anticipated-games-that-ea-could-fk-up-in-2016 Mon, 15 Feb 2016 10:59:11 -0500 BlackTideTV

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Battlefield 5

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Now don't go getting all excited, there hasn't been an official statement regarding Battlefield 5 yet, apart from various hints on a release date ranging from late 2016 to mid-2017. 

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That being said, rumors on Battlefield 5's development are so widespread we couldn't leave it out of this list. Following last year's train wreck that was Battlefield: Hardline, hardcore fans are hoping to get back to the original theme of the series: military engagements.

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If EA drops another Hardline on us, the Battlefield series might as well call it quits. Despite tons of sales and some surprisingly high reviews, all Hardline was, was a half-assed expansion of Battlefield 4 with no major gameplay changes, not even half as many weapons, items, maps, and game modes, and a ton of game-breaking glitches.

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Players are hoping that EA drops Visceral Games as their new "Battlefield devs" and brings DICE back on as the sole creator of the series. If this happens, we can all rest easy. If not, well... I hope you Battlefield guys like Call of Duty.

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Did we miss any?

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Let us know in the comments section which Electronic Arts games you think could end up getting f**ked in 2016! 

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Mass Effect: Andromeda

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Not exactly Mass Effect 4, this game still has a huge fanbase anxiously awaiting its arrival. The "sequel" to the original trilogy takes place quite sometime after the events of the third installment, and doesn't feature the original cast, nor the original galaxy. Slated for release this holiday season, this reboot could change the entire nature of the Mass Effect series - and that, my friends, is the problem it's going to have to face.

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There are some hardcore fanboys of the Mass Effect series out there; people who have dedicated significant portions of their lives to the games. If Andromeda wants to have a chance it will have to pay so much homage to the original series, they might as well have announced a legitimate Mass Effect 4.

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Unless EA and BioWare can make this game as close to perfect as possible, fans will completely dismiss it and chances for further sequels will be trashed. 

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Starting up a new series in the same universe as far as Mass Effect goes is a gamble. The reward could be outstanding, but is it worth the risk? I guess we'll find out this Christmas. 

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Mirror's Edge Catalyst

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Next on our list is one of my most anticipated games of 2016, so I'll be a little hurt if what I'm about to describe actually happens.

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The original Mirror's Edge was a game changer (ha-ha). Paving the way for modern "advanced movement" shooters, Mirror's Edge was a totally unique title offering an extremely plain-with-saturated-splashes color palette, mostly peaceful gameplay, and simple, straightforward storyline. 

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It was a fairly overlooked game during its time so I'll describe the basis of the game: parkour. The protagonist, Faith, would travel through a sparsely populated city, mantling objects, often running from mean guys with guns. That's about it - simple. 

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As mentioned in the last slide on Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2, prequels and sequels tend to pile on too much to the simplicity of the original. It's not always best to pile on features, but developer/publishers seem to think it is.

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Of the three options the devs could've taken on a Mirror's Edge 2 (prequel, sequel, different game - same universe), EA went with the hardest option: prequel (just look at how those Star Wars movies turned out). A general rule-of-thumb for a prequel is character expansion. The fans want to know how and why a character became the way they did, what's going on in their lives then versus now, and so on.

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How the hell is EA going to keep their new Mirror's Edge game as simple as the original if they need to pile all of that storytelling on top? They probably won't. Let's pray that the writers for Mirror's Edge Catalyst have their heads on straight...

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Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2

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Releasing later this February, the newest addition to the Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare series has had a short but sweet rise to fame. The original game was praised by critics for being a suitable alternative to hardcore online shooters like Call of Duty. It gained a large "cult" following by turning what most people know about Pop Cap's PvZ mobile series on its head. 

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How could the sequel be screwed up? Despite a widely successful beta, the Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare series is getting thick. By which I mean that the sequel is building directly onto the first game, making it more and more in-depth. There are more characters, weapons and abilities, maps, gamemodes, etc. There are cases where problems have arisen from games getting TOO full, something that might happen to this game. 

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When a game - especially one directed towards a younger audience - gets so menu-complicated, it can be a turnoff and reduce from the silly PvZ fun that fans have come to expect from the series.

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This one is a longshot, but given the proper - or improper - circumstances, it could end up screwy in the long run.

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Electronic Arts is one of the most easily recognized game developer/publishers with hundreds of titles under its belt. With subsidiaries EA Sports popping out nearly every sports game you've ever heard of, BioWare creating sprawling 100+ hour RPGs, and DICE delivering well-known shooters such as Battlefield and Star Wars: Battlefront, it's hard to be a gamer and manage to avoid titles from EA.

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Unfortunately for EA, like so many other companies, franchises have gone wrong. It's just something that happens in the world of gaming. One little mistake such as a small change to a character, the setting, DLC, microtransaction, or a game function can be the death of an entire game or series of games. Most of the time these errors occur with prequels, sequels, or other expansions on an existing fan-favorite series.  

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We here at GameSkinny are gamers just like you. We don't WANT these things to happen, they're just a possibility. Join us in knocking on wood before heading to the next slide to see the first of four games that EA could f**k up in 2016.

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Here's what needs to happen for equality in gaming in 2016 after 2015's good progress https://www.gameskinny.com/463sg/heres-what-needs-to-happen-for-equality-in-gaming-in-2016-after-2015s-good-progress https://www.gameskinny.com/463sg/heres-what-needs-to-happen-for-equality-in-gaming-in-2016-after-2015s-good-progress Wed, 16 Dec 2015 08:54:01 -0500 The Soapbox Lord

Every year in gaming finds the world of gaming evolving and maturing to deliver more interesting and diverse experiences. 2015 was no exception.

We saw releases this year such as Fran Bow, Dropsy, Her Story ,Cibele, Life is Strange, Sunset, Bedlam, Sunset, Armikrog, Jotun, Splatoon, and Masochisa, among many, many others. Each of these titles did something different compared to most titles released, especially the major AAA releases.

As great as 2015 was for having more diverse experiences and gaming as a whole, there are some things that could happen in 2016 and onward to see more diverse games and equality in the gaming world.

Take Some Chances and Make More Games

As the hurdles to get into game development have drastically decreased in recent years, we have seen the flood of great indie games come onto the market. With the rise of indie games, we have seen fantastic and interesting games that would not be able to exist in the AAA world.

However, as we go into 2016 and further, we need more developers making the interesting and uncommon experiences that bring the diverse experiences to gaming.

While more developers making more games is good, we need more developers willing to take risks and deliver games that aren’t afraid to challenge our preconceptions do something no one else is doing. Fran Bow follows a young girl who is struggling to live life with a debilitating mental illness following the gruesome murder of her parents; she is then institutionalized in an asylum and seeks to escape.  

It’s a drastically different experience from most games, and we need passionate developers who aren’t afraid to make more games similar to it: a game that takes a chance on something different than the norm.

We can’t have diverse experiences and equal representation of different perspectives until we have people making those experiences for us. If you are an aspiring developer seeking to make a game that delivers something different, there’s a key point you need to remember as well as developers already at work in the scene.

Make Sure Inclusive Games are Amazing

This seems to be the biggest pitfall these (let’s just label the games that strive to deliver diverse experiences as “snowflakes” for the time being) games is so many of them are, well, not good. Don’t misconstrue these statements though. Not all of these snowflakes are lacking in quality, several are quite excellent!

Life is Strange, Fran Bow, Splatoon, Jotun, and Her Story have all garnered solid reviews from gamers and critics. Her Story even nabbed an award at some game awards thingy people seem to get worked up about.

However, for every Fran Bow and Her Story, we get games like Sunset, which failed to deliver.

Sunset places the players in the shoes of Angela Burnes, an American tourist who becomes trapped in a politically unstable and fictitious South American country in the 1970s. Burnes is hired by the obscenely wealthy Gabriel Ortega, who is a leader in this political revolution underway in the country, as a housekeeper for his extravagant penthouse.

Sounds like an interesting experience right: getting to explore a politically unstable country from a distance, playing not only as a woman, but an African-American woman, and exploring a culture markedly different from North American or Asian cultures (which obviously dominate and influence most games made).

The problem was; the game beneath those ideas was lacking in many ways. My own outlet, Artistry in Games, published a positive preview of the game, only to lead to a middling and negative review upon release. Once players and outlets got their hands on the game, we realized all the brilliant potential was wasted on a lacking narrative that goes nowhere; pointless player choice that has negligible impact on the story; and the cardinal sin of video games: being boring.

While I enjoy games with grizzled, middle-aged Caucasian male characters, especially deconstructionist games such as Spec Ops: The Line, there’s also a great joy to be found in playing games with a more varied cast and a different perspective on the world such as Fran Bow, Life is Strange, To the Moon, Two Brothers, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and a slew of others. They just need to be good games, first and foremost.

We Need to Give These Games More Visibility

Let’s look again at the list of games I mentioned at the beginning of this article: as Fran Bow, Dropsy, Her Story ,Cibele, Life is Strange, Sunset, Bedlam, Sunset, Armikrog, Jotun, Splatoon, and Masochisa.

Before this article, how many of these games have you heard about? One? Two? More?

Could a mother love this face?

Doubtless, some of you reading knew about these games and were naming off other games you believe I neglected to mention. However, others may have not heard of many of these, much less all of them. The fact of the matter is a lot of games slip through the cracks nowadays. I hate to pick on Sunset, but it is a prime example of a problem here.

The game ran a successful Kickstarter campaign that managed to raise $67,636 dollars to bring the game to life. The developer, Tale of Tales, hired a PR firm to promote the game. The firm did an admirable job and sent numerous emails (I know, I received quite a few about the game prior to release and some after release). Despite all of this, the game sold poorly. In fact, the game only really garnered attention when Tale of Tales took to Twitter to behave like spoiled children and insult the very audience who supported them for not boosting the signal enough. (I recommend this read about the situation.) Classy! 

Keep Talking About Good, Inclusive Work

On the other hand, Her Story has gained a lot of attention from media and players alike. As I mentioned earlier, the game even won an award recently.

Now, obviously, visibility of the game has increased due to the quality of the game, but people took the time and talked about the game. I saw Twitter users discussing the game. Some outlets published pieces about their experience with the title. Players blogged about the game. People heard about the game because people talked about the game. Word of mouth is a powerful promotional tool.

Whenever you play a game that is a little different, share your experience. Even if the game has some problems, tell your friends about it. Write about it, telling others about what you experienced. Games that are different from most and have uncommon characters need to be shared in order for more people to know about them.

Even if the game has some issues, a few flaws shouldn’t stop people from experiencing a game that could be a fantastic experience for some. No game is perfect, and what you think is a deal breaker may not perturb others.

Leave Your Hashtags at the Door, Please

Twitter can be a wonderful way to interact with people and start trends or bring attention to an issue that needs addressing. However, they are a poor place to have sort of discussion, especially with issues such as race portrayal and equality in games.

In order to really become more inclusive, the bickering over Twitter and Tumblr needs to be foregone and replaced with thoughtful discourse with all sides being civil.

Too many times attempts of discussions of uncomfortable and tough topics (in general, but especially with games) devolve into a sideshow not far removed from apes flinging their offal at one another. This needs to stop.

We Need More Voices to Champion Inclusiveness and We Need to Listen to Them

Along with being civil, we need more bloggers, pundits, and people putting their thoughts, experiences, and opinions out there. I may not think a game may be sexist or racist, however, if a female or person of color points out the issue and explains why it is problematic, I can understand their reasoning and possibly identify problematic issues on my own.

Without more voices addressing these issues, we can’t address them. A problem that goes unidentified cannot be rectified.

Diversity is More than Skin Color and Gender

Honestly, I don’t see why so many people seem to gloss over this point whenever a discussion about diversity and equality in gaming is mentioned. People seem to focus only on the skin color of characters, their sex, or their gender, eliminating so many other facets of diversity.

Why do we not have people clamoring to play as games with characters who follow a certain faith?

What about characters from different countries, no matter what their color of their skin may be?

What about characters of different ages besides “mid 20-30s?”

What about more characters suffering from a mental illness (which unfortunately still has a huge cultural stigma attached to it)?

There are so many factors of diversity, to focus on only a few is a disservice to the idea of diversity. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy playing as good female characters. I want to see more characters of color such as Lee from the Walking Dead.

Even characters with a different sexual orientation than mine is something I want to experience because it’s different than who I am. Games are a wonderful to experience a different perspective of the world we normally could not otherwise.

We need more female characters. We need more characters, especially protagonists, of color. We need all of these and more, but what about playing a Buddhist who is unsure of his faith in a land where no one practices Buddhism? Wouldn’t that be something off the beaten path and more diverse? Yet all we hear about with diversity is about sex, gender, and skin color.

To be truly diverse, we need to broaden the scope of the discussion and our imaginations.

2016 Could be a Huge Year for Progressive Inclusion!

2016 is on the horizon and there is no telling what the future holds. There are big games such as Horizon Zero Dawn, Mafia III, Pathologic, and Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, but there will be plenty of smaller games and surprises next year as well.

While a new Mirror’s Edge is more than welcome and Horizon Zero Dawn has grabbed my attention, we need the games like Fran Bow, Bedlam, and The Cat Lady too: the indie titles that can take risks and deliver what the big games aren't willing to. At the end of the day, games are a business and an art form. The major studios will only take so many risks and will continue to sell their games to same audience until convinced otherwise.

While diversity and equality in gaming have made great strides during 2015, we have a long way to go.

What we need to realize is the power we hold as consumers. We decide what makes a game a success or failure (unless you’re Square Enix, and then millions of copies are a failure). If companies see games with uncommon characters and are more inclusive than others doing well, we can see more being made.

Even if the big companies don’t respond, we have a slew of passionate indie developers keen on making more diverse experiences for us all. We need to do our best to support them and bring attention to them. If the game has flaws, the criticism needs to be taken professionally and with grace.

While we have a long way to go, we can only do so much if we continue to argue and bicker among ourselves. As players, we need to not take criticism of the games we enjoy to heart and respond with polite conversation instead of jumping to extremes and potentially scaring away developers aiming to make a different game.

Any discussion of a tough topic needs to be met with respect, even if the person introducing the topic or authored the article is not being respectful. A little respect goes a long way.

In fact, we should all just settle our differences in games of Super Smash Bros instead of this constant bickering. That would fix all of our problems, right?

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Kickstarter Spotlight: Game Over's Daniel Lisi on Failsafe [Interview] https://www.gameskinny.com/hmfcd/kickstarter-spotlight-game-overs-daniel-lisi-on-failsafe-interview https://www.gameskinny.com/hmfcd/kickstarter-spotlight-game-overs-daniel-lisi-on-failsafe-interview Thu, 12 Nov 2015 07:02:06 -0500 BlackTideTV

Today's market for video games is absolutely flooded with AAA titles. The gaming world is so saturated by massive conglomerates that it's easy to forget about the little guys. 

When a small studio stumbles upon a creative new idea for a game, they'll fight to raise the funds to produce their masterpiece by any means necessary. A lot of the time, the struggle to raise money for smaller projects leads developers to Kickstarter -- where fans, the people who will live and die by the upcoming game, can become a part of its creation. 

Today's article is focused on a studio in this exact circumstance. Game Over's pilot project Failsafe grabs all of the best ideas from multiple AAA titles and mashes them together in an attempt to stand out from the crowd, and it might just work. I caught up with Game Over's managing director Daniel Lisi for some of his thoughts on where Failsafe stands in terms of audience, gameplay, and AAA competition.

What is Failsafe?

Failsafe is a parkour adventure game inspired by Hayao Miyazaki's storytelling, reminiscent of the fluidity of Journey and the monolithic scale of Shadow of the Colossus.

Our goal is to provide huge, sprawling environments for the player to explore using dynamic parkour to navigate the remains of a mysterious civilization. The game plays like the better parts of Mirror’s Edge, with some pivotal refinements on the movement systems.

-Failsafe's Kickstarter page

The narrative of Failsafe features an adventuresome young girl who wants nothing more than to get out of her isolated village and explore the world. 

With so many great games mentioned in just the first two paragraphs of their Kickstarter, it's clear to see from where Failsafe was born. I asked about the relation of Game Over's upcoming game to Electronic Art's Mirror's Edge, which seems to be Failsafe's greatest inspiration. 

So many AAA titles have begun creating first person parkour-esque titles, so I asked Daniel, from a developer's point of view, why he thought the genre has suddenly exploded in the industry.

Daniel Lisi (DL): I can't really say why first-person parkour is a 'thing' all of a sudden. We focused on parkour mechanics in our game simply because we were testing a whole bunch of different mechanics, and Isra's first-person movement mechanics were the funnest of the bunch. We took that fun nugget and started refining it further and further until we ended up with the movement mechanics you see today!

BlacktideTV (BTTV): Why do you think it's taken so long since the original release of the game-changing Mirror's Edge for the industry to start focusing on advanced movement in-game?

DL: As to why it's taken the industry so long to start throwing more time and money into first-person parkour, well, it's a tough genre. It's super tricky to keep a player aware of their surroundings in a first-person setting when such intense horizontal and vertical movements are going down. The big task to developers approaching this genre is tackling the orientation issue and providing the player with a cohesive, digestible experience while still slinging crazy cool dynamic movement styles into their faces.

Game Over is fairly level-headed regarding the intensity of the parkour genre. Failsafe's entire "intuitive command system" is controlled with a single button, allowing for ease of access with younger and less experienced players. 

DL: It was a goal out of the gate to make an elegant input system. The roadmap for it seemed so daunting in my head. We have so many actions Isra can perform. She can run vertically up walls, horizontally across walls, slide across the ground (and keep sliding depending on her momentum and the surface she's sliding on), she can jump (of course), leap over walls, ascend up a pair of parallel walls by kick-jumping off of them... the list goes on. All of that can be done with one context-sensitive button. It's pretty nuts.

Our designer & programmer Evan Hemsley was determined from the beginning to make this system work. Even when I met the whole idea with skepticism, Hemsley really championed it and created a supremely sophisticated button. It's a piece of flipping art, really.

Not only will players be naturally gifted at the art of parkour while playing as Isra, the heroine of Failsafe. Game Over is also including a grappling hook so players can soar to new heights.

BTTV: Who is the intended audience of Failsafe? As previously mentioned, the control system is extremely simple and the possible "lessons learned" from the campaign, already leaning towards learning to venture out on one's own and make one's own conclusions, seem to point towards a younger audience. Even still, I think the game looks great and would want to play myself, at an older age.

DL: We haven't really intended for the game to be focused specifically on younger audiences, though it is definitely accessible to them. The game is pretty much non-violent, there's no combat to speak of, save the occasional standoff with a giant robot. 

I think if you're looking for a meaningful story with some rad gameplay, Failsafe's the game for you.

Regarding the "standoffs with occasional giant robots", Failsafe isn't going to make players kill them. Though inspiration surely came from Team Ico's Shadow of the Colossus, which made us cry every time we engaged in a boss battle, Failsafe, as mentioned above, has "no combat to speak of". 

When asked how players will engage the giant robot portions of Failsafe, Daniel told me that, "You'll have to be crafty, scale them, climb around on them, and disable them."

My final question for Daniel concerned the title of Game Over's pilot game. 

BTTV: The final, and possibly the most important question of them all: why Failsafe? Is there any specific importance to that title that you're willing to share with us?

To which Daniel cryptically answered:

DL: The title is extremely narrative heavy. The Failsafe is a secret that players will discover at the same time Isra does.

Failsafe is in alpha build, with a projected completion date sometime in summer of 2016. Pending console arrangements, Game Over would like for Failsafe to be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but will definitely be releasing the game on PC, Mac, and Linux. 

Game Over have reached $20,000 of their $80,000 goal on Kickstarter. The final 80k is going towards level completion for Failsafe's campaign mode. 

With a full development/writing team with history branching from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots to Borderlands 2, and inspiration coming from games like JourneyMirror's Edge, and Shadows of the ColossusFailsafe is looking to be a mighty competitor in the tough first-person parkour market.

Images courtesy of Failsafe's Kickstarter page.

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How games use instinctual fear against us https://www.gameskinny.com/taw26/how-games-use-instinctual-fear-against-us https://www.gameskinny.com/taw26/how-games-use-instinctual-fear-against-us Mon, 02 Nov 2015 11:57:28 -0500 Clint Pereira

Psychologists tell us that there are five fears that everyone shares: extinction, mutilation, loss of autonomy, separation, and ego-death. These are fears that have plagued human beings since the dawn of man.

But how do video games, specifically, use these fears? There's more to spooking someone than jump scares.

Extinction

What is it?

The fear of no longer being. The fear of complete oblivion. You no longer exist. You are no longer conscious. You have returned to a state of emptiness.

Games that do it well

Most games don't pull this off very well. After all, death is usually just a minor irritation. It's games like Limbo and Mirror's Edge that really make the act of death terrifying. That spider's leg through the chest or that whooshing sound before hitting the ground is terrifying.

Arcade games were probably the best at scaring their players, though, but not in the way you might think. Game over screens, like the ones in Ninja Gaiden and Final Fight, were designed to get people to feel like they were letting their character die, all so they could put more quarters into the machine.

Mutilation

Games that do it well

Losing a limb is extremely traumatic. People who have lost limbs will even experience phantom pains. Mutilation is closely related to extinction, though you can be mutilated without dying. We'd all like to live our lives in one piece, and even just seeing a person with an amputation can be unnerving for most people.

Games that do it well

Dead Space and Outlast are two games that come immediately to mind. In Dead Space, the loss of limbs and eyes is often preceded by death. In Outlast, you get to watch your character's fingers brutally amputated before escaping the asylum.

Loss of autonomy

What is it?

You are trapped. Whether in a literal space or not, your freedom and choices are limited. Like an animal, it is your instinct to go into fight-or-flight mode when you feel cornered.

Games that do it well

This is one of the most common fear exploits in games, often employed in games that have jump scares. P.T. and Five Nights at Freddy's are two games that restricts autonomy by limiting player movement to one (neverending) hallway. The fear is in the feeling of being trapped; the jump scares are just there to trigger the fight-or-flight panic.

Some games will use game mechanics and graphics limitations to their advantage. Silent Hill, for instance, has a constant fog or darkness around the player character. Resident Evil uses fixed camera angles and tank controls to keep the player from feeling too powerful or in control.

Separation

What is it?

You are alone. There is nobody around, at least nobody you can relate to. If there are any people, they are empty shells or alien personalities. You can't touch them or talk with them or relate to them at all. You start to feel less human...

Games that do it well

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth has characters, but they all seem off and inhuman. Silent Hill, too, uses vaguely inhuman characters to its advantage. The town's fog also acts as a way of making the player feel isolated and alone. Additionally, Yume Nikki and Silent Hill 4: The Room, create a feeling of isolation by having a bland room be the only solace from a nightmare world that you have to traverse. In both games, dealing with monsters becomes a relief when confronted with the stark isolation of your apartment.

Ego death

What is it?

You are not the person you thought you were. A rift forms in your psyche. You can't tell right from wrong, the truth from the lie. Ego death is often considered the first step in a spiritual transformation, but it is in itself not beautiful or radiant.

Ego death is the death of one's identity. And if one cannot find a way to cope, it may as well be a real death.

Games that do it well

This is notoriously difficult to pull off, as players see themselves as separate from the character. Unless first completely immersed in the character identity, there's little the game can do to cause any kind of ego-death.

Still, some games are able to use the player's feeling of heroism and power against them. Spec Ops: The Line and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater are two such games in which the player starts out as the hero but turns out to be the villain. Both the player and player character have to face the fact that they made bad choices and are not really the person they thought they were.

Summary

Games don't have time to condition new fears for players. Instead, they have to tap into instinctual, or sometimes cultural, fears.

All of these fears are survival mechanisms, to keep us from dying, from losing ourselves into the dark unknown. But in spite of the dehumanizing nature of these fears, sharing them through stories or games does one miraculous thing.

It makes us feel human again.

Image sources: Alien: Isolation via kotaku.com; Ninja Gaiden via youtube.com; Dead Space via en.wikipedia.org; P. T. via anthonyvecch.com; Silent Hill 4: The Room via venturebeat.com; Spec Ops: The Line via everydaygamers.com

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Mirror's Edge Composer returns for Catalyst https://www.gameskinny.com/rjurf/mirrors-edge-composer-returns-for-catalyst https://www.gameskinny.com/rjurf/mirrors-edge-composer-returns-for-catalyst Wed, 30 Sep 2015 12:10:04 -0400 Chelsea Senecal

The composer for Mirror's edge, Solar Fields, will return for Mirror's Edge Catalyst. Fields says that he's been playing Catalyst himself in order to find to right emotion and feeling for not only each character, but also each scene.

The first Mirror's Edge, released in 2008, was filled with electronic music that many fans loved. It already seems that Fields is receiving a warm welcome from the community in round 2. 

Fields says he's approaching the project on a hands-on level to create the best musical environment possible:

"I’m looking at the script, the biographies on all the characters, and of course the design of the city of Glass. When I’m on-site at DICE I go through each of the missions with the level designers and producers."

The electronica soundtrack familiar to the original will proceed into Catalyst with the continuation of the Fields's unique mixture of "analogue technology with modern synthesizers... modular systems, lo-fi synthesizers, VHS tape recorders..." and really, anything that gives him inspiration. 

Fields explains that in Mirror's Edge, the music was limited to one stereo channel, where now they have four. Fields is hopeful that it will allow him to "create an even deeper and more dynamic musical experience" than the first one.

The fans and Fields are optimistic for the new game, set to release in North America February 23, 2015:

For Mirror’s Edge Catalyst I think fans are expecting ambiences that will immerse them even more in the mood and overall atmospheres that the game will be full of. And there’s a lot of that coming.

Are you excited too? Let us know in the comments below!

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The 20 cult video games you need to play before you die https://www.gameskinny.com/yx47x/the-20-cult-video-games-you-need-to-play-before-you-die https://www.gameskinny.com/yx47x/the-20-cult-video-games-you-need-to-play-before-you-die Thu, 20 Aug 2015 02:30:01 -0400 Venisia Gonzalez

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Ikaruga

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Ikaruga is shoot 'em by Treasure for the PC, Dreamcast (Japan), Nintendo GameCube, and Xbox 360.

\n

In the nation of Horai, their leader discovered the Ubusunagami Okinokai (Power of the Gods) gaining great power. Calling themselves "The Divine Ones," begins conquering nations until they are challenged by those longing for peace.

\n
Why you should play
\n

Ikaruga's combat system is just mind-blowing. It's a polarity mechanic where only the opposite polarity can destroy the enemy. This constant "flipping" while maneuvering your ship, the "Ikaruga," had me on my toes.  It is one of the best shooters I have ever played.

\n

Verdict

\n

As previously stated, cult games are games that were not widely successful, but maintained a strong fan following. Some of the games here weren't always hits at launch and some even gained their 'AAA' status afterwards. Others can be successful, critically acclaimed, but overshadowed by others. What deems a game as "cult" varies from gamer to gamer and that's okay. It is great to see how gamers impact this industry.

\n

What did you think of our list? What games would you add? List in the comments. 

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/0d242cf31dde86cb2bae92aca370b7c9.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/0d242cf31dde86cb2bae92aca370b7c9.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6642","description":"

Killing Floor

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Killing Floor is a cooperative zombie, horror, survival FPS by Tripwire Interactive for PC.

\n

Set in London, England, the Horzine Biotech, a biotechnology company, conducts military experiments involving mass cloning and genetic manipulation. During the process things go very badly and the human subjects begin to exhibit horrific mutations, disfigurement, becoming hostile, and eventually overrun the internal security forces. They escape and begin overrunning the city of London.

\n
Why you should play
\n

Where do I begin? Killing Floor has the most realistic weapons of any game I have ever played and I am a gun owner. The gameplay never gets boring no matter how much you play. This isn't a simple zombie survival by any means, oh no.

\n
\n

"So how did Killing Floor become so successful you ask? It's a really good question but simple to answer, this game is possibly one of the most clever games ever created due to the fact it's not one of the games where you try to get the other side of the level and re-stock on supplies then trying to get to the other side of that level or trying to gather supplies and making gangs and being a total ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ ruining other people's experience with that game." - scud[i]Ö!

\n
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The zombie hordes will ensure death and believe me--they will. Each wave becomes harder than before until meeting the final boss, the Patriarch. In between each wave you can visit the Trader's location which changes with every wave. Players earn money for every kill and for surviving the wave. Use the money to buy: katanas, shotguns, flamethrowers, and more. Select perks at the start of each match for bonuses.

\n

Killing Floor is deliciously fun and shouldn't be missed.

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Steel Battalion

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Steel Battalion is a Mech-simulator by Capcom for the original Xbox. The game bundles with the controller included. The controller has two control sticks, approximately 40 buttons, and a separate foot pedal.

\n

The controller lights up at key times, especially when taking damage. The unison lighting effect is to make the player "feel" like they are really taking damage.

\n
Why you should play
\n

Steel Battalion is a true sim to first exist on the console. The Mechs acted like real machine and the gameplay feels as close to the real thing as you can get. The controller set up makes you feel like you are in control of the Mech. If you run out of money and don't eject in time--game over! There is no pause button folks... just like real battle.

\n

Truly immersive game, a must-play.

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Portal

\n

Portal is a first-person puzzle-platformer by Valve for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. It was originally bundled with The Orange Box upon release.

\n

Chell is challenged by GLaDOS, an artificial intelligence (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System), to complete puzzles in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center using a portal gun with the promise of cake upon completion.

\n
Why you should play
\n

Portal offers unique gameplay and GLaDOS' dark, dry humor is brilliant. The portal gun is used by creating inter-spatial portals (orange & blue) between two flat planes in order to solve the puzzles. It is amazing, fun, and quite challenging. The test chambers vary in terms of hazards, so be prepared to die--a lot. There are challenge maps and two additional modes are unlocked once the game is completed.

\n

Valve never anticipated Portal would be such a hit with players and was originally a mod for Half Life 2.

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'Splosion Man

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'Splosion Man is 2.5D action platformer by Twisted Pixel Games for the Xbox 360.

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'​Splosion Man is created by the laboratory Big Science. He is completely made of explosive material. The purpose is to "splode" through the levels of puzzles, traps, and enemies to escape. A splode is a jump which is used to kill enemies, demolish walls, detonate explosive barrels or even trigger other surrounding effects.

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Why you should play
\n

'Splosion Man offers a hefty amount of single-player and 4-player cooperative levels (local or online). Its humor, originality, and simplicity is what makes this classic great. The controls are easy as pie I might add, so there's no difficult combinations to remember. The puzzles are cleverly designed to constantly add new mechanics to the players. It can be challenging but never to the point of frustration or boredom; it's fun. There are so many references to the 1980's that you are sure to be engaged in nostalgic fun.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/0797402525db25df7d86672ab8283f72.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/0797402525db25df7d86672ab8283f72.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6603","description":"

Earthbound

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Earthbound aka Mother 2 is an RPG by Ape and HAL Laboratory for the Wii U (originally NES).

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Follow Ness and his friends as they travel the world to collect melodies while defeating the evil alien Giygas.

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Why you should play
\n

Earthbound has a Lovecraftian theme that is both dark and fun. There are unique elements to this classic game that I found delightful such as the the numbered health wheel and never combating an enemy beyond your limit. It doesn't punish you but still allows you to gain the XP. Give it try.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/6ab5d22aead31fab7ddd55ec4204a048.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/6ab5d22aead31fab7ddd55ec4204a048.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6602","description":"

Demon's Souls

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Demon's Souls is the action RPG by From Software for the PS3 that accumulated more deaths than YouTube has epic fail videos. This is the game that started the Souls series.

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The kingdom of Boletaria is being ravaged by a curse. The "Deep Fog" brings forth demons to feast on mortal souls in this dark, fantasy. Brave warriors set out to save the kingdom against this threat.

\n
Why you should play
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If you are like me when it comes to playing any series, you have to go to the beginning. Demon's Souls is a testament to decision making all thanks to the auto-save system. Weapon mapping is critical when in combat. Death is cruel... but delicious.

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Xenoblade Chronicles

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Xenoblade Chronicles is a sci-fi RPG by Monolith Soft for the Nintendo Wii.

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Follow Shulk and his friends as they search for answers regarding the mysterious "Monado" sword to defend their land from robotic creatures called the Mechon.

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Why you should play
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Xenoblade is loaded with quests with an MMO similar combat system. The world is grand and gorgeous. Oceans, caves, and swamps can be found scattered throughout. The soundtrack is equally dynamic. It is a game that you'll either love or hate.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/808b575bc26d72baa851e934f5811c23.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/808b575bc26d72baa851e934f5811c23.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6600","description":"

Conker's Bad Fur Day

\n

Conker's Bad Fur Day is a crude adult-oriented, action platformer by Rare for the Nintendo 64.

\n

Take the foul-mouthed squirrel Conker, who has one hell of a bad fur day, through levels based on popular movies, even one made of poo. Yes... poo. Conker goes through all of this just so he can sleep off his hangover.

\n
Why you should play
\n

Conker's Bad Fur Day is a classic full of dark, vulgar humor, puzzles, cigars, booze, and fighting loads of enemies. Do you really need any more reasons?

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/272c77ef9f6b60b6d35dcc40687f9eca.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/272c77ef9f6b60b6d35dcc40687f9eca.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6587","description":"

Catherine

\n

Catherine is an adult adventure puzzle-platformer and dating sim by Atlus for Xbox 360 and PS3.

\n

Catherine weaves a tale of a young man named Vincent as he attempts to come to grips with settling down with his girlfriend Katherine. However, when Vincent gets involved with another young woman named Catherine... all hell breaks loose. This is a game that makes you think twice about being unfaithful.

\n
Why you should play
\n

Catherine is a unique game unlike any other that I have played before. The use of puzzles as nightmares due to Vincent's moral dilemma is the game's core. The anime style is a fantastic and will certainly appeal to fans of the genre.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/e8363c5aabc8ad8367c0985509e50767.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/e8363c5aabc8ad8367c0985509e50767.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6592","description":"

Valkyria Chronicles

\n

Valkyria Chronicles is a tactical RPG by Sega for PS3 and PC.

\n

Set in Europa, similarly to Europe during World War II & the 1930's. The abundance of Ragnite ore has caused the neutral nation of Gallia to come under attack from the Empire; who is currently at war with the Federation. Soldiers of the Federation's 7th Platoon are fighting back to unify the continent under its power.

\n
Why you should play
\n

Valkyria Chronicles has an epic storyline, beautiful graphics engine, a great gameplay system, and loaded with tons of customization. The immersible environments are stunning to boot.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/0/1/301ac9c1a6057260cb97464e36f7faa7.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/0/1/tiny_301ac9c1a6057260cb97464e36f7faa7.jpg","type":"slide","id":"79243","description":"

Deus Ex: GOTY Edition

\n

Deus Ex: GOTY Edition is cyber-punk theme action RPG by Edios Interactive for PC.

\n

Set in the year 2052, Deus Ex follows JC Denton, an nano-technologically-augmented (UNATCO) agent, as he combats terrorist forces in a world slowly slipping chaos. He then becomes involved in an ancient conspiracy where he encounters groups similar to the Illuminati and the Hong Kong Triads.

\n
Why you should play
\n

Deus Ex: GOTY is an upgraded edition of the original that started a revolution as far as I am concerned. It brought an all-new gameplay to FPS with a real  immersive 3D, first-person perspective. Despite the original launching over 15 years ago, this is still a favorite among gamers.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/1cd8502721d80cdccdbd2712c5f553e3.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/1cd8502721d80cdccdbd2712c5f553e3.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6596","description":"

Alan Wake

\n

Alan Wake is an episodic psychological survival horror by Remedy Entertainment for Xbox 360 and PC similar to a television series. 

\n

Alan Wake is novelist suffering from a bout of writer's block who must uncover the mystery behind his the disappearance of his wife. However, his best clues come from torn pages of a book that he hasn't written yet.

\n
Why you should play
\n

Alan Wake is a fantastic combination of elements of storyline, television, and game creating an experience loaded with thrills, humor, and scares that is just as fun to play as it is to watch.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/de6ca247cece14d2b761df66511a5cec.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/de6ca247cece14d2b761df66511a5cec.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6597","description":"

Mirror's Edge

\n

Mirror's Edge is an action-adventure by DICE and EA for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.

\n

Join the free-runner Faith as she works to uncover corporate conspiracies by moving across rooftops, walls, through ventilation shafts, and navigating the environment using parkour.

\n
Why you should play
\n

Mirror's Edge graphics are breathtaking. Once its parkour elements are mastered, Faith's movements are traversed seamlessly. This is a game that words cannot describe, you simply must see to believe. Its expansive environment provides a dynamic setting for the fluid parkour.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/c135f70d4e68f2e738dd89d5dee0a9a2.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/c135f70d4e68f2e738dd89d5dee0a9a2.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6590","description":"

Grim Fandango Remastered

\n

Grim Fandango Remastered is an adventure game by LucasArts and Tim Schafer for PC, Mac, PS4, PS Vita, Android, and iOS.

\n

The game combines elements of the Aztec belief of the afterlife with film noir style to create the Land of the Dead. Departed souls, represented as skeleton-like (calaca) figures, must travel to reach their final destination, the Ninth Underworld. The story follows travel agent Manuel "Manny" Calavera as he attempts to save Mercedes "Meche" Colomar.

\n
Why you must play
\n

Grim Fandango Remastered's story, its characters, and humor make it a classic unlike anything else. It truly is one-of-a-kind. You need to pay close attention to things people say, and everything you read and see in order to complete the puzzles. Its stylistic choice to mimic the Mexican paper dolls for the Day of the Dead is wonderful. Even after 17 years from its original launch, this game is still a must-play.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/da43d6c3876d3b25c7dac51fc8dd3a46.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/da43d6c3876d3b25c7dac51fc8dd3a46.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6588","description":"

American McGee's Alice

\n

American McGee's Alice is a third-person horror action by Rogue Entertainment and EA for PC.

\n

The game is an unofficial sequel to Lewis Carroll's Alice novels. Set years after Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, it is dark and Alice is maniacal. After witnessing the death of her family in a blaze, Alice suffers from survivor's guilt and is sent to the Rutledge Asylum when she begins losing her grasp on reality. Her only possession... her stuffed rabbit.

\n
Why you must play
\n

It's a steampunk, Gothic horror with no signs of Disney. A dark, deliciously morbid storyline with an amazing soundtrack. The level design and artwork are so elaborate, you will find yourself mesmerized. I cannot tell you how gorgeous it is. The characters are twisted and The Cheshire Cat delivers some of the most memorable lines to date.

\n
\n

"We're all mad here." - The Cheshire Cat

\n
\n

There is currently a petition on Change.org requesting that EA make another Alice game.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/a579f7142167629dbc909bdad61b747a.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/a579f7142167629dbc909bdad61b747a.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6586","description":"

Psychonauts

\n

Psychonauts is a fun platformer by Double Fine Productions for PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2, and PS3.

\n

Psychonauts follows Razputin (Raz), a boy with psychic abilities, who runs away from the circus to sneak into a summer camp for those with similar powers to become a "Psychonaut" (spy with psychic abilities).

\n
Why you should play
\n

Psychonauts is a creative game that features fun gameplay, wonderful voice acting, beautiful environment, strange humor, and a great soundtrack. Each character's brain is  a world for Raz to explore. The puzzles are challenging without being too difficult. I love its bizarre cast of characters. They are hilarious and well constructed.

\n

Tim Schafer delivers a fantastic story with the comedic style he's known for. If you love his games, you need to play this one.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/aa5d568b8ea08565d6b536f1e372f9f7.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/aa5d568b8ea08565d6b536f1e372f9f7.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6585","description":"

Limbo

\n

Limbo is a puzzle-platformer from Playdead for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, and PC. Its black-and-white theme and lack of dialogue resonate similar to rich film noir. Its artwork speaks of German Expressionism and it is gorgeous.

\n

The darkness hides loads of hazards such as:

\n
    \n
  • lethal bear traps on the forest floor
  • \n
  • deadly monsters hiding in the shadows... giant spiders!!
  • \n
  • glow worms: they attach themselves to the boy's head forcing him to travel in only one direction (I'll let you solve this on your own)
  • \n
\n

The second half features mechanical puzzles and traps that use machinery, electromagnets, and gravity. There is no dialogue or instruction, just the ambient eerie setting in which you must explore while using critical thinking in order to advance. Love it!

\n
Why you should play this
\n

Limbo is intuitive and creative; cold, lonely, and stark. The nameless boy's journey provide a breathtaking experience. The stunning artwork and physics system lend itself to its maze of masterfully crafted puzzles that make every mistake a brutal consequence.

\n

Simply put... it is a perfect and emotionally moving game.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/237865199c7ed86e4174e7327b806a9f.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/237865199c7ed86e4174e7327b806a9f.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6584","description":"

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

\n

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a first person survival horror available on PC, Mac, and Linux. It is a game about immersion, discovery, and living through a nightmare made by Frictional Games.

\n

If you are in the darkness too long, witness unsettling events, or stare at monsters, this will reduce Daniel's sanity (which needs to be maintained). If not kept in check, you are in for hallucinations that draw the attention of the monsters. Not fun at all!

\n
Why you should play
\n

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is one of the scariest survival horror games I have played on PC. Its thick atmosphere is terrifying. I love how well the gameplay is crafted. The scares are horrific and memorable. The story unfolds slowly to its unsettling climax. In my opinion it is a must-play, you do not know what you're missing.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/bca96f9bff4d05b775dabbeb3f20c38b.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/bca96f9bff4d05b775dabbeb3f20c38b.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6583","description":"

Castle Crashers

\n

Castle Crashers is a side-scrolling 2D beat 'em up game from The Behemoth available on Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and a remastered for Xbox One.

\n

Castle Crashers offers a single-player and up to a 4-player cooperative gameplay either locally or online. Gain experience points, unlock weapons, animal orbs, earn coins, and unlock characters. The melee and weapon combinations are so much fun to use, especially when fighting the giant cat fish (literally... it's a cat) while in battle on the raging river.

\n
Why you should play
\n

There are giant cats, corn, knights, sandwiches, lollipop swords, and... sketches of unicorns.

\n

The art style of Castle Crashers is by no means any indication that it is a G-rated "baby" game. It's Diablo meets princesses that crashed into the World of Dr. Seuss. It is hysterical, fun, and will make you feel like a crazy button-smashing kid again.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/9/e/2/9e29b758fec83150e56f3071aea4a4c6.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/9/e/2/tiny_9e29b758fec83150e56f3071aea4a4c6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"79370","description":"

Hello gamers. If you have ever wondered what cult games should be on your must-play list, GameSkinny has got you covered. We have selected some of the best games to play before you die from PC to console.

\n

Cult games are games that were not widely successful, but maintained a strong and dedicated fan following. Some of the games on this list weren't always hits at launch and some gained 'AAA' status afterwards. Others can be successful, critically acclaimed, but overshadowed by others in the same series or released around the same time. Unconventional elements are a common appeal that will also categorize a game as "cult."

\n

It just goes to show you how much of an impact we as gamers make in this industry. Here's our Top 20!

"}]]]>
Top 10 Great Video Games Well-Suited for Short Bursts of Play https://www.gameskinny.com/4wdu1/top-10-great-video-games-well-suited-for-short-bursts-of-play https://www.gameskinny.com/4wdu1/top-10-great-video-games-well-suited-for-short-bursts-of-play Sun, 17 May 2015 13:30:01 -0400 Autumn Fish

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Of course, there are plenty of other games out there that are good for short sessions. Mario Kart 8 is another Wii U game that features short, fun races, each one lasting around 2 minutes.

\n

The entirety of the rogue-like genre would also be a safe bet. Ziggurat, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, and Rogue Legacy are all great examples, though Isaac is a bit harder to progress in.

\n
What games do you like playing when you're low on time?
\n

We'd love to hear about the games you play when you're pressed for time and want a quick-fix! Make sure to let us know in the comments below.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/8/2/3/8235c67ae2d6c842a8f556f34a0ffc11.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/8/2/3/tiny_8235c67ae2d6c842a8f556f34a0ffc11.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66329","description":"

Super Smash Bros. 4 (3DS, Wii U)

\n
Settle it in Smash!
\n

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Wii U

\n

Average Match Time: 2 - 6 minutes

\n

Find It: Website, Nintendo eShop (3DS / Wii U)

\n

Super Smash Bros. 4 is among the greatest entries in the Super Smash Bros. franchise, and has finally made itself accessible to gamers on the go with the 3DS release!

\n

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is one of the best 3DS games you can have if you need to cram your playtime into short, less-than-10-minute matches. There is even a unique mode in the 3DS version that mixes up the game a fair bit and takes no more than 8 minutes to complete an entire round! There's nothing like a quick round of Smash.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/9/a/c/9ac30d7bfbc0f8d1d98cd0ed6c48dc17.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/9/a/c/tiny_9ac30d7bfbc0f8d1d98cd0ed6c48dc17.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66327","description":"

Unreal Tournament 2004

\n
Cult Classic Futuristic FPS
\n

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

\n

Average Match Time: 5 - 30 minutes

\n

Find It: Steam, Website

\n

Despite its age, Unreal Tournament 2004 manages to keep an active playerbase even 11 years after its release. Unreal Tournament 2004 is a first-person shooter that defined the genre years back, and is somehow completely age-defying.

\n

The graphics may look outdated, but the gameplay is just as fun as you'd remember it. Unreal Tournament 2004 is a great example of a game that aged well. Hop in and play for a round or two when you have the time, and see if you can round up some of your friends to play with! UT04 will never get old!

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/b/f/b/bfbf5216d7dd7de9d7cf323eb45e3c5a.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/b/f/b/tiny_bfbf5216d7dd7de9d7cf323eb45e3c5a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66325","description":"

Mirror's Edge

\n
Cityscape Free-Runner with Action Sprinkled In
\n

Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows Phone, iOS

\n

Average Chapter Length: 25 minutes

\n

Find It: Website

\n

Mirror's Edge is a great platforming action game, but it can get a tad repetitive at times and is best digested in segments rather than a full sitting (the story runs for about 4 hours). Play a chapter or two and put the game down - chances are you'll appreciate it more than if you just blundered through.

\n

Games with shorter campaign lengths often benefit from segmented and short play sessions, so long as the story isn't so complex that you'll forget it all by the next time you want to play again. And Mirror's Edge fits the bill. 

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/5/8/e/58ee706141e86623d898fea9b59091f1.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/5/8/e/tiny_58ee706141e86623d898fea9b59091f1.png","type":"slide","id":"66324","description":"

Crypt of the Necrodancer

\n
Rhythm Rouge-Like Groovy Dungeon Crawler
\n

Platforms: Windows, Max, Linux

\n

Average Zone Length: 12 minutes

\n

Find It: Website

\n

Crypt of the Necrodancer is a unique take on the rogue-like genre that sends you down the Crypt to the beat of a spectacular soundtrack. Not to mention, Crypt of the Necrodancer has the most expertly crafted features ever seen in a rogue-like game.

\n

Each and every character you can play in Necrodancer has their own unique play-style that often drastically changes how you play the game. Each character also has their own background, and the lore behind Crypt of the Necrodancer is the best we've ever seen from the genre. The zones don't take too long to complete, especially if you end up dying a lot, and it has endless hours of fun just waiting to be had (a few lunch breaks at a time).

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/9/5/6/956e1c568b036054a9f3507ccf94a8ee.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/9/5/6/tiny_956e1c568b036054a9f3507ccf94a8ee.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66323","description":"

Borderlands

\n
Treasure-Hunting RPG FPS
\n

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

\n

Average Play Time: Any

\n

Find It: Website

\n

Borderlands, despite being an interesting mix of first-person shooter and RPG, is actually really easy to jump into and play for just a short while. No matter what you do - whether you're clearing simple quests, taking on the main mission, or just doing some character grinding - it always feels like you've made progress.

\n

Too much Borderlands in one sitting honestly could make you sick of the game, but it's perfect for short bursts of play where you just want to knock out a couple of objectives and move onto something else.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/9/2/a/92a182b4150ca454059532d205cc050b.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/9/2/a/tiny_92a182b4150ca454059532d205cc050b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66321","description":"

Trine: Enchanted Edition

\n
3-Character Fantasy Action Puzzler
\n

Platforms: Windows, Max, Linux, Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360

\n

Average Level Time: 30 - 45 minutes

\n

Find It: Website

\n

Trine: Enchanted Edition was a huge upgrade from the original Trine game, and it wasn't just the graphics that got updated either. Trine Enchanted Edition takes Trine 2's engine and puts it into Trine 1, making the game a hundred times more accessible than ever before.

\n

It doesn't matter where in a level you quit the game. You will reappear in the exact spot you left off when you come back. That way, you can play your three character puzzle-platformer without worrying about saving early to leave on time! Happy adventuring!

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/e/f/aefaf4fb319a1f81432e87a601e98cc2.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/a/e/f/tiny_aefaf4fb319a1f81432e87a601e98cc2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66314","description":"

Limbo

\n
Eerie Puzzle-Platforming Adventure
\n

Platforms: Windows, Max, Linux, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android, iOS

\n

Average Play Time: Any

\n

Find It: Website

\n

Limbo is a silently charming game following the journey of a boy through this land of shadows, where everything is open to interpretation. This critically-acclaimed future classic has carved its own unique place in the gaming world, and most certainly deserves a spot on this list.

\n

No moment in this game feels dull, and overcoming each obstacle is incredibly rewarding. Best of all, it doesn't matter where you leave off, the game will pick itself back up from the same place when you decide you want to play again. Huzzah for no back-tracking!

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/b/e/a/beaae3fc9132389673a600f1333f159a.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/b/e/a/tiny_beaae3fc9132389673a600f1333f159a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66304","description":"

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

\n
3DS Village/Life Simulation Game
\n

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS

\n

Average Play Time: 1 hour

\n

Find It: Website

\n

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the newest and most well-received game of an already classic Nintendo franchise. Not only do you get to move into a town full of animals and customize your home like the previous Animal Crossing games, but you stumble upon the time right when they are in desperate need for a new mayor.

\n

Who better to fill the shoes of mayor than the next person to step off the train (a.k.a. you)? Animal Crossing is a great game that goes at the pace of a peaceful, day-to-day life. There's never a whole lot of things to do in one day, so it's hard to play for much more than an hour, unless you're really good and finding something to do out of nothing.

\n

Pour your heart into your very own town in Animal Crossing: New Leaf and make it anything you can dream of. It's your world, make it what you will.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/1/d/01ddae2fc2de3daf902f7b54d5c7b3a4.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/1/d/tiny_01ddae2fc2de3daf902f7b54d5c7b3a4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66299","description":"

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

\n
Multiplayer TCG w/ Smart Phone Support
\n

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Andriod, iOS

\n

Average Game Time: 10 minutes

\n

Find It: Website, Google Play, Amazon Apps, App Store

\n

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a free-to-play Trading Card Game (TGC) by Blizzard Entertainment that features simple gameplay in the form of short, turn-based battles with digital collectors cards.

\n

The goal of Hearthstone is simple: drop your enemy's health to zero before they can do the same to you. Use a combination of the cards in your deck and your Hero's abilities to wipe out your opponent and come out victorious.

\n

While Hearthstone may let you pay to get a little bit ahead of the game, there's nothing you can pay for that you can't obtain just by playing the game a bit more. Hearthstone is a fantastic choice to kill 15 minutes, even if all you have with you is your smart phone.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/7/7/6/776cc0998fa9c355d72d1939ed1ff169.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/7/7/6/tiny_776cc0998fa9c355d72d1939ed1ff169.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66297","description":"

Team Fortress 2

\n
FPS Team Multiplayer Lobby-Based Shooter
\n

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

\n

Average Match Length: 20 - 40 minutes

\n

Maximum Match Length: 1 hour

\n

Find It: Website, Steam

\n

Team Fortress 2 is a free-to-play lobby-based first-person shooter for PC (via Steam), PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. You pair together with other players online to form two separate teams, RED (Reliable Excavation & Demolition) and BLU (Builders League United).

\n

Team Fortress 2 is the biggest free-to-play first-person shooter on the PC, and it's no wonder why. There are a plethora of game modes to play in, such as Arena, Capture the Flag, King of the Hill, Special Delivery, Territorial Control, and more with plenty of maps to play them all on.

\n

Each match can last up to an hour, but that's about it. Most in-game matches last around half an hour and are good for a quick play session!

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/8/2/6/82617f4cb19778cffe800e546f3b1d86.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/8/2/6/tiny_82617f4cb19778cffe800e546f3b1d86.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66288","description":"

There's nothing quite like immersing yourself in a fantastic game. That feeling you get when you set down the controller and peek at the clock to find you've been playing for 12+ hours is completely unmatched. Having copious amounts of time like that in 2015 is becoming increasingly difficult, and the demand for games that are easy to pick up and play in short bursts is staggering.

\n

With so much going on in our daily lives, it can be hard to find more than an hour at a time to play games anymore. Some games — infamously RPG and open world games — make it hard to get the satisfaction of progress without dumping an absurd amount of time into each title.

\n

If you're looking for something to play that will satisfy your gaming fix without taking up more than an hour of your time, then you've come to the right list! One of these games is bound to give you the satisfaction of progress no matter how little time you have to play.

"}]]]>
Three Free EA Games Added to PlayStation Experience https://www.gameskinny.com/4sr5x/three-free-ea-games-added-to-playstation-experience https://www.gameskinny.com/4sr5x/three-free-ea-games-added-to-playstation-experience Sat, 06 Dec 2014 13:22:45 -0500 Brian Spaen

Sony has a PlayStation Experience event lasting all weekend long, and with it comes three free games from EA.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare for PS4, Mirror's Edge for PS3, and Need for Speed: Most Wanted for Vita are all currently free on the PlayStation Network. They can be found under the PS Experience Special Offers page, or just click here.

There's some pretty hefty savings here. Scouting for the cheapest prices, Garden Warfare is currently $30 at Walmart, Most Wanted is $30 at GameStop, and ME is around $15 on eBay. These free games will only be available to pick up until 9:00 PM Eastern / 6:00 PM Pacific on Sunday.

More PlayStation Network sales

Other sales currently going on include the Grand Theft Auto V remaster on PS4 with a free Bull Shark Cash Card for $59.99, The Last of Us Remasterd on PS4 for $34.99, and Dying Light Ultimate Edition on PS4 for $71.99.

If those aren't satisfying, there's a wealth of other sales happening on PSN. Over on the weekly holiday sales, Assassin's Creed Liberation HD is $8, South Park: The Stick of Truth is $16, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is $18, and more. Some sales do require a subscription to PlayStation Plus.

Are you going to be picking up any of these free games this weekend?

Image credit: 6aming

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Top Ten Memorable Female Characters https://www.gameskinny.com/9zzfl/top-ten-memorable-female-characters https://www.gameskinny.com/9zzfl/top-ten-memorable-female-characters Fri, 21 Nov 2014 09:53:50 -0500 Benjamski

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Maya 

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Borderlands 2
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It should be enough to say that Maya is awesome just because she is one of six super-powerful women (called "Sirens") in the Borderlands world, but there's more to it. Not only was Maya a truly badass companion to have alongside me in my several playthroughs of Borderlands 2, but she has an awesome origin story.

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Discovered by a shady secret order and raised by monks, she practiced her powers in secret. When she realized that the monk's planned to enslave her and use her as weapon of fear and intimidation to control the people of that world, she kills them and peaces out to Pandora to learn more about Sirens and the world in general. It's a story that is only touched on briefly by listening to an audio recording, but hearing her story of overpowering her captors and escaping to explore the world and her identity makes me love her character even more. 

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/5b1667452b21714be28ce3feedb3b90e.jpeg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_5b1667452b21714be28ce3feedb3b90e.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"55316","description":"

Alyx Vance

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Half-Life 2
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Alyx Vance is easily one of the best AI companions ever. So many games pair you up with a companion or force you to escort a character too stupid to deserve protection. But Alyx was not only one of the most competent AI companions to this day, she is also a strong and smart character that demands respect with her very presence. She is a leader in a massive resistance against alien forces, and is more often telling Gordan Freeman what to do instead of asking what's next.

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She's smart enough to build herself a pet robot and tough enough to hold her own throughout the entire game without letting any obstacle stand in her way for long. Lists like these are always made up of subjective details but Alyx Vance should be on all of them, no matter what.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/c7ac9d3758229bc157a35bd86f62b4cf.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_c7ac9d3758229bc157a35bd86f62b4cf.jpg","type":"slide","id":"55313","description":"

Red

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Transistor
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This is another silent female protagonist. Unlike the others, Red at least has the excuse that her voice was stolen by the game's antagonist. But like the other women of few words on this list, she doesn't let that hold her back from being a force to be reckoned with.

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Being a singer with no voice must be a terrible feeling, and we can hear that melancholy in the melodious humming that Red graces the player with throughout the game as she hums along with the background music. While her sentient sword does all the talking, Red does have more and more of a personality as you progress through the game and better understand her background and her journey to become a revolutionary influence on the world. 

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/5cd4d0a18a4dca22a4b4d4f94d70d75e.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_5cd4d0a18a4dca22a4b4d4f94d70d75e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"55312","description":"

Faith Connors

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Mirror's Edge
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In Mirror's Edge, Faith took badass-parkour to a whole new level as she runs, jumps, punches, kicks, and slides her way through the world without ever slowing down. The story is never as important as the action, but it still had enough background to paint Faith as a fiercely independent character who has lived on her own from a young age and is not subtle in her rebellion against the totalitarian regime of baddies that creep into the city she calls home.

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Whether she's bounding rooftop-to-rooftop, taking out enemies in flash of melee attacks, or taking risks to stand up for what she believes in, she never slows down or hesitates in making the next move. 

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/c258c3193d1e21bc8903abe66268be8d.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_c258c3193d1e21bc8903abe66268be8d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"55311","description":"

Ellie

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The Last of Us
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If you own a PS3 or PS4 and you haven't played The Last of Us, go pick it up now! It has one of the most powerful stories I've played through in years, and Ellie is a strong character that only gets stronger before the end of the game. She's only 14 and is thrown into a dangerous journey across a zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic world where some of the people she encounters are more horrible than the actual monsters. 

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There are moments where Ellie is saved by her companion and protector Joel. But for every one of those instances, there are twice as many cutscenes or actual gameplay where she fights tooth-and-nail to survive in bleak scenarios. 

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/08c304ce96041b51ab102c47b2b0bd44.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_08c304ce96041b51ab102c47b2b0bd44.jpg","type":"slide","id":"55310","description":"

Abigail "Fetch" Walker

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Infamous: Second Son, First Light
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While Infamous: Second Son had that issue of diverging the story arc into a good side and evil side (which didn't really fit Fetch's established character), she's still a strong character in the flagship game.

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But Fetch really shines in her own standalone game, First Light, where we learn more about her past, her relationship with her brother, and what makes her such a great character. She has those moments of weakness and feeling helpless, but always picks herself back up and fights.

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There are some moments in First Light where Fetch is relentlessly hit on, receiving gross and creepy one-liners that, while annoying and a little out of place, are unfortunately a reflection of the real world. Fetch is certainly never okay with them, and I suppose it does make eventually killing the aforementioned creep that much sweeter. 

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"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/54282d8098428bd813cd2d10364269a6.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_54282d8098428bd813cd2d10364269a6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"55309","description":"

Chell

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Portal, Portal 2
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Taking a page from the "strong and silent type" book of previous Valve protagonist, Gordon Freeman, Chell has zero dialogue in either game, yet still comes off as strong and unstoppable. GLaDOS, the Portal antagonist, puts Chell through countless humorous and blatantly torturous puzzles filled with near-death experiences, but Chell never so much as slows down for a single moment. 

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Even without saying a word, or even really being seen, Chell is an example of a female character that looks completely average and is thrown into challenging situations that she never ceases to overcome time after time.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/e8a46ba4c9930fa4c4e56f96afad12a1.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_e8a46ba4c9930fa4c4e56f96afad12a1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"55308","description":"

Nariko

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Heavenly Sword
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While your immediate impression may be that Nariko is beautiful and sparsely-clothed, she is inarguably strong-willed and unmatched in combat. Wielding a sword that is both badass and looks heavy enough for two people, she makes combat both deadly and graceful.

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Even before obtaining this unique weapon, Nariko is a fierce warrior who defends the last of her people with whatever she has, no matter what. Despite being shunned by her clan when she was born, she defends them from the very beginning. She proves that she is destined to defeat evil and save her world from destruction, in spite of the fact that the prophecy foretold a male savior. 

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If you haven't played or seen Heavenly Sword, it only takes a quick glance at the combat to see just how impressive of a warrior Nariko is. 

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/b6ae66a0b36fc9fee4b3988295f8214c.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_b6ae66a0b36fc9fee4b3988295f8214c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"55304","description":"

The Boss

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Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
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Hideo Kojima's games are weird as hell, and I'm just one of the people that loves him. While a lot of his female characters are tough, they're also needlessly sexualized. But The Boss is an exceptional character. Throughout the game, she is both a nurturing mentor to the protagonist and a formidable foe as well.

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The boss fulfills both the motherly female archetype and the badass (a la Lara Croft) female archetype simultaneously. She mentors Snake and cares deeply about him, but she also won't hesitate to break his arm and throw him off a bridge to teach him to survive. Let's all be thankful the mother figures in our life aren't quite that hard on us. 

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While few things are ever totally clear in Kojima story lines, the one thing we learn about the Metal Gear Solid series in Snake Eater is that without the loving and brutal mentorship from The Boss, Big Boss would never have become the legendary hero he's known to be.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/ada82bcd7b14bbd5bafba14a510427eb.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_ada82bcd7b14bbd5bafba14a510427eb.jpg","type":"slide","id":"55303","description":"

Alice Liddel

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American Mcgee's Alice: Madness Returns
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This is a game that probably slipped under a lot of people's radar, but I was fortunate enough to give it a go on PS3 (and was so glad I did). Not only are the environments designed beautifully, but the overarching metaphor of Alice fighting her mental battles to overcome trauma and tragedy in a fantastically macabre world was powerful, yet understated. Alice is dark and twisted, with a tragic past that lands her in a mental hospital. Throughout the story, she fights her way through these issues in a grotesque take on Wonderland, with antagonists that parallel the abusers and villains in her reality.

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There was an aesthetic to both her and the environments in the game that I absolutely fell in love with. In her reality, she is worn and broken. But in her fantasy world, she empowers herself to overcome her problems and take back her life. She certainly starts as a victim and has definite moments of weakness throughout the game, but always keeps pushing forward no matter how ugly things get. By the end of her experience, she overcomes all of the evil in her life to open up the hope for a brighter future.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/d48ab3ed2428bdf56ddc68c34b43af5e.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_d48ab3ed2428bdf56ddc68c34b43af5e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"55302","description":"

The more critically we look for positive female characters in games today, the harder they are to find. So many of even the most memorable female characters fall victim (often literally) to be being damsels in distress, being sexualized/objectified, or fulfilling other types of cliche gaming tropes.

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There are however, some great examples of utterly unforgettable characters in gaming - certainly more than the ten I'll list here. I tried to stick with characters in games that I've played myself, rather than heard about, and tried not to default to the more obvious choices (like the indisputably badass, yet overused example of Lara Croft).

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This list isn't perfect or definitive, nor does it make any academic statements. It is simply a list made by someone who thinks women are people and that these leading ladies were recognized as great characters first, and women second.

"}]]]>
PS Now Has Mass Effect 2, Mirror's Edge, More Coming Soon for Streaming https://www.gameskinny.com/zubsr/ps-now-has-mass-effect-2-mirrors-edge-more-coming-soon-for-streaming https://www.gameskinny.com/zubsr/ps-now-has-mass-effect-2-mirrors-edge-more-coming-soon-for-streaming Wed, 12 Nov 2014 13:21:30 -0500 KieraB

The U.S. PlayStation blog dropped news about some popular titles making their way to the PlayStation Now network starting December 2, thanks to a new partnership collaboration with EA Games.

Among the games to now become available for streaming through the PS Store's service are some of the system's biggest hits, such as Mirror's Edge, Mass Effect 2, NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, Bejeweled 3 and Dead Space 3. 

Each of these games will be made available for players who want to rent them for about $1 per day if they opt for a week, but it is noted that players can select from "a variety of options," depending on how long they would like to rent the game. 

PlayStation has made the purchases easier to access on PS Now, as well. As soon as the games of choice are rented, players can leap right into the action without having to wait for downloads, patches, or other time-consuming processes that tend to fill many with great impatience. Add in the feature of automatic cloud game saving, and the games can travel with you, too.

EA itself is the latest addition to the growing number of PlayStation's business partnerships, including but not limited to Square Enix, Sega, Konami, and Capcom. Blog author Peter Jamshidi also mentions that the company will "continue to add more."

Since the service's growth spanning five different platforms--select Sony TVs, as well as the PS3, PS4, PS Vita and PS TV--gamers who make use of the PS Now streaming have racked up a total of over 100 years worth of streamed gaming time.

With PS Now still in Beta, the staff are also reportedly working on subscription services for the PS Now, but those details have yet to come. Until then, happy 100 years of gaming!

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Best 9 Action/Adventure Games https://www.gameskinny.com/gzffr/best-9-actionadventure-games https://www.gameskinny.com/gzffr/best-9-actionadventure-games Tue, 07 Oct 2014 01:54:52 -0400 zoLo567

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Devil May Cry 3
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Very few series have affected me the way that the Devil May Cry series has. From the very first game I have been hooked, and am always looking forward to the next entry in the series. Devil May Cry 3, however, is what I feel to be the best that the franchise has to offer.

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From the story to the game play, Devil May Cry 3 delivers. Out of everything that the game offers though, combat is the star. With plenty of different weapons, and deep combat mechanics, the action is incredibly satisfying. Couple this with great boss fights, the Bloody Palace Mode, and the special edition's addition of another playable character, and you have an action game that sets the standard for the genre.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/b179a7a24c597c667002bcc3977e7224.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_b179a7a24c597c667002bcc3977e7224.jpg","type":"slide","id":"52578","description":"
Bayonetta
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Few games are as over the top as Bayonetta. But fewer games can match the amazing gameplay and action that the title offers.

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With action in the vein of the Devil May Cry series, Bayonetta's polished gameplay is easy to learn, but surprisingly deep. The mechanics behind the game's combat are satisfying and fun, and the wildness that comes with it help Bayonetta stand out. The game's fast pace, awesome boss battles, and great level design add to what is a complete package, and one of the best action games to date. The game gets a little ridiculous and defines the word 'spectacle', but in Bayonetta's case, this is a good thing.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/f05b26829b1e472a5210148839ee3502.jpeg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_f05b26829b1e472a5210148839ee3502.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"52574","description":"
Batman: Arkham City
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Batman has always been my favorite comic book hero, and I always wanted a game that let me feel like him. Batman: Arkham City was that game.

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Batman: Arkham Asylum is a great game, but Arkham City is even greater. The combat always felt smooth, and it felt good exploring Arkham City as Batman. With an awesome story and plenty of content, Arkham City brought you into Batman's world, and has become not just the best licensed game ever, but one of the greatest of the last generation.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/e35e60fe30644537f410e59194b4133a.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_e35e60fe30644537f410e59194b4133a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"52610","description":"
Tomb Raider (PS1)
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Lara Croft is an icon in the world of gaming... It all started for her in the original Tomb Raider, which has to be one of the greatest adventures in gaming history.

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Tomb Raider was one of the first adventure games that I had ever played, and has always stuck out as one of the best. The game play at the time had been incredibly inventive, and is still fun to this day. Lara's first adventure took me around the world, and helped give birth to a new era of gaming. It may not have been the first adventure game to ever release, but it is one of the most original and enjoyable titles ever.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/6229705eecc9f3218776371fc1f25d52.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_6229705eecc9f3218776371fc1f25d52.jpg","type":"slide","id":"52691","description":"
Gears of War 3
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The Gears of War series has been known for its crazy, gritty third-person action. Gears of War 3 was the culmination of the franchise, bringing everything the trilogy had to offer to an amazing finish.

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The hectic gun fighting and action had been nearly perfected by the time the series had reached this point, and the story hit an incredible conclusion. The multiplayer aspects of the game were at their best, and were incredibly fun. Gears of War 3 set the bar for how great a shooter could be, and is one of the greatest must-play action games ever. I do not like very many shooters, but Gears of War 3 is a great exception.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/4be4c1e922354198c2d17f50c2c972cd.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_4be4c1e922354198c2d17f50c2c972cd.jpg","type":"slide","id":"52581","description":"
Shadow of the Colossus
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Very few games have been presented as beautifully as Shadow of the Colossus. The music and art style have helped set the game apart, but the main draw has to definitely be the amazing battles.

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Shadow of the Colossus is unique in that all of the battles are boss battles. And these battles are amazing. Every enemy is massive, and they take more than skill with a sword to take them down. This leads to gamers playing smart and thinking hard as they figure out how to tackle the massive beasts. Very few games have matched what Shadow of the Colossus brought to gaming, and I doubt very many ever will.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/b6c3fdd16a6910cd1552c29fdef3136c.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_b6c3fdd16a6910cd1552c29fdef3136c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"52611","description":"
Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando
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Sometimes you get the itch to blow stuff up. Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando will help to satisfy that itch.

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The second game of the series, Going Commando had everything that made the Ratchet and Clank series great. A great sense of humor, awesome level design, great game play, and awesome weapons. It feels satisfying leveling up your weapons to the max and laying waste to everything around you. The game looked great, which only added to the chaos that would sometimes take the screen. Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando was both an amazing action trip, and one of the best games of the PlayStation 2 era.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/c54345509902edfe2f20d2287757084d.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_c54345509902edfe2f20d2287757084d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"52580","description":"
Assassin's Creed 2
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Assassin's Creed was groundbreaking when it first released. Assassin's Creed 2 took everything that made the original great, and became one of the greatest action games to ever fall into gamers hands.

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Assassin's Creed 2 did an amazing job depicting the different cities of Italy, and made traversing the rooftops of these areas enjoyable. The game's combat was smooth, and the story of vengeance satisfying. I felt like a badass playing as Ezio, taking out target after target. Assassin's Creed 2 was one of my favorite experiences of the PlayStation 3 era, and one of the best adventures I have taken in a video game. 

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/6a9235b6fca627c443df5aeb99251d1e.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_6a9235b6fca627c443df5aeb99251d1e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"52554","description":"
Mirror's Edge
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When I purchased my PlayStation 3, one of the games that I bought with it was Mirror's Edge. Let me just say, that was one of the best purchases at the time.

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Mirror's Edge blew me away. The first person parkour action was unlike anything that I had ever played before, and I loved the challenge that the game brought. It tested my reflexes, and caused me to learn to trust my instincts. Mirror's Edge has always been unlike any other game to ever come out, and was a great example of what the PS3 could do at the time.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/ede12b48eec50b289c43d15e569c3baa.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_ede12b48eec50b289c43d15e569c3baa.jpg","type":"slide","id":"52553","description":"

I have always had a place in my heart for action and adventure games. I always felt that they offered some of the best game play experiences, and the better games coupled this with amazing stories and narratives. When it comes down to it, the action/adventure genre has to be one of my favorites.

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Here is a list of what I consider to be some of the best action/adventure games that I have ever played.

"}]]]>