Team Fortress 2 Articles RSS Feed | Team Fortress 2 RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 5 Best Free to Play Games on Steam Mon, 16 Dec 2019 16:22:43 -0500 Gabriel Moss

The holiday season is here in full force, and you may be wondering what to play while snuggled in at home — hopefully with a mug of hot cocoa or eggnog in hand. Luckily, Steam has quite the selection of great free to play games that you can download and enjoy without paying a single cent.

Here is our list of the five best free to play games on Steam, and we suggest setting aside some time. Each of these titles can give you upwards of 1,000+ hours of gameplay if you stick with them.

They're also online-only — there is no traditional single-player title on this list — so you'll need a good internet connection to get the maximum possible enjoyment.

Destiny 2

First on our list is Destiny 2. Bringing a previously paid game with hundreds of hours of content and easily over $100 in retail down to the price of "free" is quite the move for Bungie, who is best known for the Halo series.

Destiny 2 has a lot of the same shooting and looting action of its predecessor, and the easiest way to describe it to new players is if Halo and Diablo had a baby. That's Destiny 2.

You can join a clan, play through several cinema-quality narrative campaigns alone or with your friends, and enjoy the ever-growing laundry list of multiplayer strikes (dungeon crawls) and raids as you increase in power with tons of new gear and unlockables.


Warframe isn't dissimilar from the Destiny series in concept; you largely do much of the same shooting, looting, and raiding to the tone of a larger narrative campaign.

The difference here is that you do it all as a heavily armored ninja warrior, called a Tenno. Warframe boasts a bombastic movement system that lets you jump, wall-run, and zoom through combat with ease, easily making it the most acrobatic on our list. The community is also notoriously helpful to new players.

Path of Exile

Path of Exile is a top-down isometric action RPG, like Diablo. It receives consistent quarterly updates with new content, items, and bosses, and it’s apparently much more mechanically similar to Diablo 2 than the heavily-streamlined Diablo 3.

This is important to note because many long-time ARPG fans revere Diablo 2 as the best (and most challenging) title in the genre, and Path of Exile is widely regarded as a return to form in that respect. It’s also free.

Dota 2

Defense of the Ancients 2, or Dota 2 for short, is an action-packed multiplayer online battle arena where players choose a hero and clash against the other teams’ heroes and minions as both sides compete in a large-scale game of tug-of-war.

It’s very similar to League of Legends, which is the single most played competitive game in the world, but is known for being more complex — offering more options to deck your hero out during each round.

If you’re in more of a competitive gaming frame of mind, Dota 2 is a barrel of fun. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time (in the hundreds of hours) learning the gameplay curve against bots before regularly winning random online matches or competing in tournaments.

Team Fortress 2

All of the aforementioned titles ask hundreds of hours from you before you get into the ‘meat’ of the experience. If you’re left wanting a chilled-out multiplayer shooter to simply enjoy with your friends, Team Fortress 2 is one of the best, if not the very best free multiplayer shooter on Steam.

It’s been a classic cornerstone of online gaming since it was released in 2007 alongside the infamous Orange Box collection. And now, sitting on top of a bevy of content updates since release, Team Fortress 2 continues to be kept alive by a loyal community — one who embraces the joy of endlessly trading items, weapons, and cosmetics back and forth through the Steam Inventory.


Those are the five best free to play games on Steam. Sure, there are others, but you should start with these. 

The Best Rick and Morty Mods For All Your Favorite Games Tue, 18 Apr 2017 18:04:09 -0400 Ty Arthur


What did you think of these fun Rick And Morty mods, and have you discovered any we missed that should be added? Let us known in the comments section below!


For a little extra fun, check out some amazing scenes from the show re-created in Fallout 4, including the poignant exodus of the many Mortys, with one evil Morty amongst them.



Garry's Mod

Rick, Morty, and Meeseeks Models

Get It Here!


This physics sandbox game now has some new model additions, including Rick Sanchez, Morty, and even Mr. Meeseeks.


If you scroll through the other Steam Workshop content available from the same user, you'll even find some giant "show me what you got" heads to populate the sky!



Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2

Rick And Morty Announcer Packs

Considering half the draw of the show is just listening to Rick's insanity and Morty's not-so-sure-about-this responses, it was only a matter of time before somebody made announcer packs for various online games. 


Justin Roiland, the voice of both characters, apparently actually did these lines originally for Dota 2, and someone then imported them all over to Team Fortress.


With Season 3 coming soon, I wouldn't be surprised to see more games doing this. Adult Swim Games is also currently working on a Mr. Meeseeks courier for the Dota 2 Steam Workshop.



No Man's Sky

Icons And Sounds

Get It Here!


This one doesn't radically change the game -- just adds a new loading screen and changes a few icons and sound effects to match the show -- but expect a lot more to come in the months ahead. I'd bet we'll see a planet where everything is on the cob before too long...



Fallout 4

Rick's Portal Gun

Get It Here!


Before anybody gets too excited -- no, this one doesn't let you teleport from location to location or add in some Portal-style physics system. That would have been rad, but alas, its not to be (yet).


What this mod does do is re-skin an alien blaster to look just like Rick Sanchez's portal gun, and that's pretty cool. I know what I'll be vaporizing robots and raiders with this week.



Fallout 4

Overhaul Mod

Get It Here!


This nifty little mod swaps out the intro menu screen with the Rick And Morty show intro and gets rid of one aspect of Fallout 4 that added absolutely nothing: the voiced main character.


Rather than hearing "blah, blah, blah" for the millionth time while skipping text, the mod replaces everything the Sole Survivor says with random Rick Sanchez lines...and most of it hilariously fits whatever the situation at hand happens to be.


And those ones that don't fit...well, those ones are even more hilarious. Who doesn't want to hear "Rubber baby buggy bumpers!!!!" at random times while playing Fallout 4?




Scary Terry and Mr. Meeseeks

Get It Here!


Who knew you needed Scary Terry in your Skyrim playthrough? This modder, that's who. As expected, he says one particular word more often than any other. As a bonus, gold coins are now renamed to shmeckles, as they should be.


The same modder has had videos up for going on three years now, showing off a Mr. Meeseeks box that spawns tons of Meeseeks out to help you (check one out below). But unfortunately that mod isn't actually available yet.



Grand Theft Auto V

Rick Sanchez Add-On

Get It Here!


I'm going to confess something that may not endear me to the GTA fanbase: I didn't actually really like part V.


The heist system was interesting, and of course there's the absurd online experience that's filled to the brim with ludicrously amazing nonsense you won't see anywhere else. But I actively hated the characters this time around. A rich suburban white dude who turns to crime because he's bored with his perfect life and has annoying kids doesn't quite match the Eastern European whirlwind of destruction that was Nico Bellic.


That being said, GTA V has seen some killer mods that give the game extended life and take it in new directions -- from a stunningly beautiful fan graphics upgrade to this crazy mod that lets you fly around in Rick Sanchez's spaceship and fills the game world with a whole council full of Ricks and their attendant Mortys.


Yep, there's catch phrases galore, as well a rendition of "Get Schwifty." Just um, don't go to the strip club when you've got everything changed to a Rick. You don't want to have to scrub your eyes.



When it seemed like season 3 would never arrive and was lost somewhere out in the multiverse, the fires of Rick And Morty mania were re-stoked on April Fools.


The crazy folks from Adult Swim decided to play the upcoming first episode on loop for 24 hours with the message "there, you can now stop bugging us" prominently displayed at the bottom. As I predicted back when the Pocket Mortys winter update arrived, we saw several new Mortys from the game appear on the show (did everybody catch Hammer Morty meeting his demise?).


The rest of the season won't arrive until this summer, but you don't have to wait that long for a super schwifty fix of new darkly humorous sci-fi shenanigans. 


Various characters and voices from the show have collided with a wide range of games thanks to the glorious modding community, and today we're rounding up the best of 'em currently available. And awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay we go...

11 Tasty-Looking Game Foods That We're Dying to Try Mon, 26 Dec 2016 03:00:01 -0500 Unclepulky

Food is good.

It's a simple, Kindergarten level statement, yet at the same time, I don't think anyone would try to say it isn't true. And, since video games often star people as the main characters, it makes sense that they would like food too.

Here, I'll be taking a brief look at eleven of the tastiest looking foods in video games. I'll give the background and descriptions of each food item if available, and, since I have a culinary background, I'll give my two cents on how I think each food item is made.

Princess Peach's Cake (Super Mario Bros. Series)

Throughout the Super Mario games, we often hear that Mario's reward for rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser is cake.

Now, cake is tasty, but for Mario to still be saving her after, at the very least, ten separate kidnappings, Peach must be one of the greatest bakers to ever grace the Mushroom Kingdom.

One of the few times we actually get to see what I've dubbed, "Motivation Cake," is in Super Mario 64, the above image coming from its DS remake.

Now, from the outside, this looks like a basic vanilla cake with buttercream frosting. However, we must remember that this cake is baked specially for Mario, the Italian stereotype to end all Italian stereotypes.

Maybe, just maybe, that cake is filled with not cream, but spaghetti and meatballs.

Sea Salt Ice Cream Popsicle (Kingdom Hearts Series)

Moving on from the possibility of one of the strangest, most unrealistic cakes ever, we have something that you can actually make for yourself quite easily! 

Sea salt ice cream is a frequent motif in the Kingdom Hearts series, and, like many things in those games, it's used as a symbol of friendship. It's greatest use was in the criminally underrated Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, in which it's used to represent the bond between Roxas, Xion, and Axel.

Now, salty ice cream is pretty delicious, especially if you mix in some dulce de leche, but if you just want to replace the blue ice cream bars seen in the games, all that's really necessary is to make some vanilla ice cream with sea salt in the mixture, and color it blue.

Ramen (The World Ends with You)

Regular old ramen? I think not!

 In the JPRG, The World Ends with You, one of the quests in the game involves assisting a traditional ramen chef. As Neku, you must help him figure out a way to have his restaurant complete with a new, trendy ramen bar.

While many different types of ramen are shown off, and even more are available for purchase throughout the game, it's the old fashioned, plain ramen, which is described to be the tastiest.

A traditional ramen dish consists of wheat noodles in a meat or fish based broth, usually flavored by miso or soy, and includes toppings such as pork seaweed and onions. Looking at the soup shown in the game, a quail egg may add some tasty extra flavor.

Sandvich (Team Fortress 2)

The Sandvich is a secondary weapon for the Heavy in Team Fortress 2. When eaten, the Heavy regains up to 300 health, and, it can also be shared with a friend.

Unlike most of these foods, we know exactly what the Sandvich consists of. Between the slices of bread are lettuce, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, and a few slices of both ham and bologna. Lastly, topping the Sandvich is a green pimento-stuffed olive.

Who wouldn't like to eat a sandwich the tastes great AND heals your wounds?

Spaghetti (Undertale)

In the hit indie game Undertale, one of the main supporting characters, the skeleton Papyrus, loves to make spaghetti.

Now, while those who have tasted it have said that Papyrus's spaghetti tastes rather bad, there would be a serious upside to eating it.

Papyrus... only serves spaghetti to his friends.

And no matter how unpleasant the taste of his spaghetti may be, getting to be Papyrus's friend would be worth it, as he is possibly one of the nicest characters in any video game.

Pumpkin Soup (Skyward Sword)

Pumpkin flavored anything may now be synonyms with stereotypical, vapid teenage girls, but when you get down to it, pumpkin is still a very tasty ingredient.

In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, you can visit a pub known as The Lumpy Pumpkin. There, in addition to completing several quests, you can purchase Hot Pumpkin Soup.

While it'll lose some of its healing capabilities after it gets cold, when it's nice and hot, it's more effective than a red potion.

In addition to healing your wounds, we know that this soup tastes fantastic as it is the preferred food of the sky guardian Levias. And if it's good enough for a giant sky-whale, it's good enough for you.

The Cake (Portal)

Here, we have what appears to be a basic cake with chocolate frosting, topped with cherries and whipped cream.

While that would definitely be tasty, during the final battle with GLaDOS, the intelligence core recites the entire recipe. While there are plenty of items in the recipe that could make a cake extra delicious, such as coconut pecan frosting and fish shaped candies... there are also items included in the recipe like "Fish shaped volatile organic compound and sediment shaped sediment" and "Injector Needle Gun."

My advice? Leave out the ingredients that will cause you to die, and sit yourself down to enjoy a tasty chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting.

Heart Stopper Burger (Grand Theft Auto 4)


Unlike the cake from Portal, there's no way to remove the lethal elements from this dish without turning it into a normal hamburger.

Lets count for a moment. According to this advertisement, the Heart Stopper 6lb Burger includes at least nine meat patties, five slices of what I can only hope is something resembling cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomato, and onion.

If you choose to make this burger for yourself and eat it, you will die. There's no getting around that. However, it would be the tastiest death ever.

Cup of Lifenoodles (Earthbound)

 The greatest cup of noodles ever to be cooked!

While as a standard cup of noodles, its taste can't compare to the traditional ramen seen in The World Ends with You, these noodles have the ability to cure any ailment.

Broken arm? Eat a cup of Lifenoodles. Have a fever? Eat a cup of Lifenoodles. Knocked unconscious by a guy because you're enough of a nerd to write about tasty video game food? Have a friend pour some Lifenoodles down your throat.

So long as you can stomach overly-salty gas station noodles, there's nothing Lifenoodles can't help you overcome.

Honningbrew Mead (Skyrim)

Out of all the alcoholic beverages I've had in my life, none have tasted better than homemade mead.

From my experience making it with my older brother, I've learned that there are several crucial aspects of making a good mead. Most importantly perhaps is how long you let it ferment. Quality mead needs a lot of time to sit, with a minimum of a year.

Seeing as how we have no idea what Honningbrew Mead tastes like, I imagine it to taste like one of my favorite flavors of mead: Chamomile, Maple, or Honey.

Since there are readers of this site who aren't old enough to drink, and even more who aren't qualified to make their own alcohol, I'm not going to lay out the process.

However, for those of you who really do want to learn, look around on the internet. There are plenty of tutorials to quench your thirst for knowledge.

Dots (PacMan)

For nearly four decades, Pacman has been eating these white dots. And spin-off games aside, that's really all that he does.

So what do these tiny, little, white pixels taste like?!

Surely, they must be good enough to risk getting killed by ghosts for. However, we have no idea what flavors they contain. Are they salty or sweet? Bitter or sour?

Perhaps the answer... is yes.

Perhaps this is a food so delicious, so perfect, that it perfectly balances all possible flavors.

That is the way of the dot. That is the way of the Pacman.

What food from games do you want now? And what would you throw in the dust, and not even leave for the dogs? Let us know in the comments below.

Will 2017 Be the Year for First Person Arena Shooters? Fri, 04 Nov 2016 07:55:44 -0400 Lydia M

2016 was certainly a major year for Arena First Person Shooters -- also known as Multiplayer Online Shooter Arenas (MOSAs). 

Overwatch was lead the MOSA hype after it was announced in 2014, entered beta in 2015, and then finally fully released in 2016. Alongside similar titles like Battleborn, Paladinsand Lawbreakers, just to name a few, the FPS genre has rapidly changed in the past 12 months. But the real question is...

Could 2017 be even better?

Thanks to these games, we’ve surpassed the idea that the only type of multiplayer FPS games are the likes of CS:GO, Call of Duty, and Halo, with a 'shoot to kill and that’s all' style.

The Arena FPS genre's origins can be traced all the way back to the release Team Fortress 2 in 2007. However, we didn't see a true rise of the genre until much more recently -- arguably just this year. And this genre has become so popular because it adds a key element that other traditional FPS titles lack. Objectives. While getting enemy kills are certainly a plus, you have to work as a team for the same goal Think of co-op Borderlands, mashed up with the destruction of Call of Duty.

This isn't the first time there’s been an insurgence of titles in a new genre. After the initial release of League of Legends and its ensuing boom in popularity, other game developers jumped on the new style and made their own versions. Just a few years later, we have a thriving MOBA scene in which most games have a full-blown eSports circuit attached to them, and Twitch's top spots are often dominated by MOBA players. 

So if history is anything to go by, the newfound success of games like Overwatch could mean that first person arena shooters are on their way to becoming the same sort of phenomenon.

Given this popularity explosion in 2016, both in and out of the eSports scene, what's coming next? Will developers take advantage of the Arena FPS hype and attempt their own versions next year?

While there may be more Arena FPS games released in 2017, it’s hard to think that the excitement and hype around them will be as strong as it has been in 2016. The novelty has all but worn off, and a lot of developers have tried a number approaching to making their own MOSA games. So in some ways, the genre is already starting to feel stale due to oversaturation. Even if new games get released, players will likely do nothing but compare them to the OG Arena FPS titles they played in the last year.

Again, we can look to the MOBA scene as an example. Founding games like League of Legends and Dota 2 retained the majority of the fan base as the MOBA craze grew. Many other attempts at the genre came and went with little attention, except for a few titles like Hi-Rez Studio's SMITE -- which found success in the genre because it took a wildly different approach.

All in all, it looks like the initial fad of Arena First Person Shooters has pretty much come and gone already. 

Once there’s been so much excitement surrounding a genre with an insane number of game choices, gamers usually choose one and stick with it. And in the case of these shooters, that game has been Overwatch.

There haven’t been very many announcements for more Arena FPS titles to come in 2017, but don’t be surprised if you see one pop up as other developers try to capitalize on the genre. For now, though, it looks like most of the enthusiasm for this burgeoning corner of FPS action will be focused on the games that have already established their playerbases, and the eSports circuits for those games as they get into full swing. 

5 Non-MOBA Games for MOBA Players to Unwind With Thu, 03 Nov 2016 10:00:01 -0400 Kris Cornelisse (Delfeir)

MOBAs are among the most competitive environments offered to gamers. It’s almost inevitable that if you start taking them seriously, you’ll end up becoming significantly more competitive to suit. That kind of intense competition can seriously take its toll, and this is why it’s not uncommon to see people raging or otherwise just getting completely fed up.

While it’s natural to get frustrated, it’s often best to step back from the game and take a break. A bit of time spent relaxing and getting back into a more positive mindset can go a long way in helping you climb through the ranks.

To that end, I’ve provided a short list of games MOBA players might enjoy for such a purpose. These games are chosen largely because they’re all on PC, they need some skill and awareness to excel at, but they can be as relaxed or as competitive as you choose to make it. I’ve also tried to keep them reasonably cost efficient -- after all, most MOBAs are so free.


For a period of time, osu! was the go to game during extended queues for a number of notable League of Legends streamers. It gained quite a bit of popularity for itself and other rhythm games, though few others on the PC really took advantage of it and the surge of attention eventually died down. osu! remains, however, and is really quite good.

Taking the gameplay of the Nintendo DS Ouendan games (or Elite Beat Agents), osu! is a rhythm game that sees you tapping or dragging buttons in time with the song’s beat. It can be as simple or as intense as you want it to be, with a slew of modifiers to apply for customised gameplay, not to mention some ridiculous difficulty settings for the truly dedicated.

Coming equipped with an editor, the game has a truly massive library of songs built and amassed by players over the years, so there’s likely to be something here to interest you. osu! is also fantastic for practicing mouse movements and coordination -- certain to give you an edge when you return to your favourite MOBA. You can download osu! on the official website.

Genre Alternatives: Stepmania, Audiosurf 2

Path of Exile

Famous for its Skill Tree of Doom, Path of Exile is a Free to Play Action RPG with a ridiculous amount of potential for customisation. Starting from basic archetypes such as indestructible tanks or mages raining fire on foes and going all the way to rangers throwing spectral greatswords or rapidly teleporting ninjas, Path of Exile has so many different ways to play the game.

While it ultimately boils down to lots of clicking as you kill and loot your way across the game world, Path of Exile is great for picking up, picking a crazy build, and seeing what you can do. There’s a huge amount of content in the game as well, and even replaying the same areas on higher difficulties can be quite the experience.

The game is regularly updated with new temporary Leagues providing unique spins on the game, as well as constant new features and cosmetic items. If you haven’t dabbled in Path of Exile yet, it’s well worth taking a look at. You can find it on Steam.

Genre Alternatives: Diablo 3, Torchlight 2, Grim Dawn

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

There’s little I can say about this game that hasn’t already been said. Sporting overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam years into its release, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a delightfully twisted game that sees you roaming through randomly generated dungeons and fighting all sorts of grotesque and misshapen foes.

A staggering amount of powerups and items are available for you to find throughout the dungeons, many of which create interesting or strange combinations of effects that can completely change how you play. There’s a huge array of unlockables, playable characters, and hidden content to delve into and find. But most importantly, regardless of what items you get, getting there (or losing in the attempt) is entirely up to the player’s skill.

Whether it’s for a single quick run through the game or a marathon session with multiple playthroughs, The Binding of Isaac is a fantastic game that’s great to wind down with. Might not be for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, though… fair warning!

Genre Alternatives: Enter the Gungeon, Risk of Rain

Rocket League

Remote controlled cars playing soccer. Need I say more?

A surprisingly simple concept that has since taken the world by storm, Rocket League takes The World’s Game and shrinks it down to a handful of cars pitted against each other for control of an oversized ball. Featuring extremely tight controls that are quick to learn but very deep and involved to master, Rocket League can be as simple as you want it to be or end up becoming just as consuming and focused an activity as any MOBA.

There’s an array of customisation options for giving your chosen car its own stylish flair. There are a number of different maps and play modes from the serious 2v2 or 3v3 ranked games to the more ridiculous Rumble Mode. Rocket League is fast, it’s fun, and there’s nothing else quite like it. Well worth giving a shot.

Genre Alternatives: ...I don’t know, Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 maybe? There really aren’t any. Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars being the spiritual predecessor to Rocket League.

Team Fortress 2

Admittedly, jumping from MOBAs to an FPS is not always the best way to relax. Both genres can get quite heated and competitive, after all, and it can be quite frustrating or demoralising to go into this thinking you’ll be able to take it easy only to get sniped from across the map repeatedly.

But that’s why I’ve selected Team Fortress 2, because while it may be an FPS, the players have since made it into a virtual playground with plenty of less serious options. Exploring through the servers and maps, you might find all sorts of crazy new ways to play. From matches of dodgeball, to hide-and-seek prop hunt games, to fighting against one super-powered player, the possibilities are endless.

If none of that takes your fancy, there’s always just playing the core game itself. It’s a bit different now from how it launched, but there’s still a really good game at the heart of Team Fortress 2. With a staggering amount of weapons and options across all nine classes and huge amounts of maps, there’s never really a bad time to just kick back, relax, and grind some new hats.

Genre Alternatives: Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

This is just a small sampling of good games that MOBA players might like to try when not playing MOBAs. Still, at the end of the day, just about any other kind of video game will suffice for the purpose. Perhaps you want to go roam around and slay dragons in Skyrim, or go exploring in World of Warcraft, or even just kick back and enjoy a visual novel. The world is your oyster.

It’s always worth remembering that we come to video games to be entertained and have fun. Amidst the eternal grind of competitive games and less than savoury insults being hurled back and forth, it can sometimes be hard to remember that. But it is something to always remember. If you’re not enjoying yourself, step back and give it a bit. The game will still be there when you’re ready, and you’ll be much more refreshed and able to give it your all.

What other kinds of games do you enjoy in between your MOBA sessions? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

(Header image courtesy of TeeTurtle)

SAG-AFTRA Releases List of Games being Struck Against Fri, 21 Oct 2016 12:30:59 -0400 Clayton Reisbeck

Today, SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) is conducting a strike in protest to the unsuccessful negotiations for a new contract that would allow for residuals for successful games, safer working conditions, and transparency with voice actors for the projects that they'd be working on.

Along with the strike today, SAG-AFTRA released a list of around 200 games that would be struck against. The entire list can be found on SAG-AFTRA's website.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered

Looking through the list shows many titles that are clearly project names without official titles, but the list does hold some pretty big titles that are supposed to be very anticipated in the next few years. This includes games such as Injustice 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the Crash Bandicoot remaster announced at E3 this year, and Kingdom Hearts 2.8. The list also has some titles that are already released, such as Team Fortress 2 and Shadowrun: Hong Kong.

Those titles that are just represented with project names are also interesting to see. Certain titles that I found intriguing were a couple from Formosa Interactive called "Blood Dragon" and Brothers in Arms. Other project titles of note are from EA titled "American Football '17 and '18" and "Hockey '17 and '18." I think it's safe to assume that those are the next installments in the Madden and NHL series, respectively.

madden 17

Now if this strike goes on for an extended period of time, we could very easily see some delays from these games. The issue I foresee is the companies just hiring someone new to do the voice work. SAG-AFTRA only represents about 25% of voice actors today, so finding someone who isn't part of the union probably wouldn't be hard for the companies being struck against.

Whatever happens to these games, SAG-AFTRA is going to fight for this new contract. Their previous contract was written back in the 90's and hasn't been updated to reflect the current culture of video games.

Which games are you surprised to see? Leave a comment and let me know!

Micro-Transactions and The Future of Gaming Wed, 14 Sep 2016 07:36:39 -0400 ForTheTwo

If you've picked up and played a game in the past half-decade, it's happened to you. You've clicked on a weapon you haven't unlocked yet, seen a bright overlay on-top of that extra skill slot, or maybe you went a bit too far down the main menu, and you opened that large gleaming 'Store' button. If you're very lucky, those have been the worst of it, but you keep seeing them everywhere. At worst, and these stories are becoming depressingly more frequent -- that new piece of gear that drops for everyone but you is only available as a paid item; your main is finally added to the roster as paid DLC.

Micro-transactions, the literal game-changing monetization method that funded the app store and propelled mobile gaming into its adolescence, has been pushing its way back into the market from whence it came -- and ruining it forever, if the internet is to be believed. 

Defending micro-transactions was never the hill I wanted to die on, but let's kick off the party that ends in my immolation at the stake right here: Micro-transactions aren't going to ruin gaming. The situation isn't as good as you might have hoped, but it's not nearly as bad as you think it is.

Is There Such A Thing As A Good Micro-Transaction?

For starters, micro-transactions aren't the revolution anyone thinks they are. The rise of the video game market, before home consoles were a technical possibility, and for years after, is closely tied to micro-transactions. 

The secret origin of the micro-transaction, as told by Dan Griliopoulos, is found in one of the first pieces of gaming hardware:

"Arcade machines. . . follow the whole model the microtransaction businessmen tell us that they've just invented - big upfront investment by the company, paid back by micropayments driven by compulsion."

By the time smartphone apps came around, the arcades had died out, and games were sold like software: pay a large amount once, and play it as much as you wanted. This model died in the early days of the app store: there was a 'race to the bottom' as consumers flocked to the lowest priced version of an app, regardless of quality. It hit games and game developers right in the wallet. The simple fact of mobile was that quality and success had a much weaker relationship than price and success. Profit in this environment came from charging lower prices to a wider audience, and hoping to make profits there.

Micro-transactions had seen success in the glory days of Facebook Gaming: while ads were the initial sources of profit, by early 2010 micro-transactions would account for "90 percent of . . . revenue." Game developers took this strategy to the app store, and literally changed the entire landscape of mobile app development. On iOS, the most profitable games are all free-to-play titles, with revenue coming entirely from small in-app purchases.

The Games Industry Takes Notice

It would be wrong to ascribe micro-transaction's growth in 'hardcore' gaming to any one particular player. Lots of companies were involved: 

  • Valve's fanbase-splintering decision to make Team Fortress 2 a free-to-play title, supported entirely by in-game purchases of cosmetic items was a hot topic for months afterwards.
  • Two years before that, Riot Games introduced the future king of Twitch, League Of Legends as a free to play title, supported entirely by purchases of in-game characters, stat-buffs and skins.
  • Two years before that, before the first iPhone, before Android meant anything outside of science fiction, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion had already started to sell horse armor for real-world money. 

The saving grace of micro-transactions was this: by relying on profits generated by a small percentage of their community (the so-called 'whales'), games could afford to ditch traditional payment methods. MMOs facing cancellation after a drop in subscribers could recover by retooling themselves as F2P titles. Top-rated, infinitely replayable games like Path of Exile were built as free-to-play, micro-transaction funded titles. Genre titles like Harmonix's Rock Band were able to extend the lifespan of the title, by releasing over a thousand new songs as playable tracks, selling them as singles and collections.

Micro-Transactions Today: Who Foots The Bill?

The issue, of course, happened when micro-transactions were viewed not as an alternative to charging full-price for a game, but as an extension of it.

It doesn't matter where it first happened: in a boardroom, college seminar, in a moment of drunken inspiration, wherever it was, someone thought: 'What if I put micro-transactions in a $60 game and I still sold it for sixty dollars?' 

 When the rant begins about Publisher X ruining Game Y, this is often the result. Paid DLC isn't new: paying for skins and cosmetics, even in single player titles isn't a revolution either. The real frustration began when these charges became exploitative, charging players for features or items that should have been in the game to begin with, or overcharging for non-essential features.

The former generates unease because it changes how the game is perceived from the very beginning: if a game is fundamentally different without those items, it's a bad experience. Offering players assistance for cash can challenge a gamer's pride, but requiring an additional purchase to clear a particular challenge, or to avoid hours of tedious grinding? Calling it fleecing would be nicer than the practice deserves.

"No. No. God, I hope not."

Payday 2 lead designer, David Goldfarb, when asked if the team planned to introduce micro-transactions.

 The past few years have seen some abuses of micro-transactions and appropriately negative reactions from the community:

  • Payday 2introducing micro-transaction based drops in 2015.
  • Payday 2, after a year of feedback, drops micro-transactions,
  • Evolve, retails at $60, majority of playable characters locked, with micro-transactions heavily encouraged to unlock extra content.
  • Evolve keeps micro-transaction model, goes free to play.
  • Overwatch is widely criticized for its use of micro-transactions: while items are cosmetic only, they are unlocked randomly, regardless of if they are acquired from in-game experience of through purchase.

As more games continue to add micro-transactions at launch, including the recent Assassin's Creed: Unity, and Mortal Kombat X, the question becomes not only 'how bad will it get?' but 'when will it stop?'

It Probably Won't Be That Bad

The worst offenders were never that respectable to begin with, and communities have spoken, repeatedly and forcefully, when they cross the line. Gamers, a typically divided group, have been shockingly coherent when it comes to what they will and won't allow. Even if they can't stop micro-transactions financial appeal, or themselves from buying in -- EA still makes over $650 million on DLC alone -- their ability to impact change couldn't be any clearer from the above examples.

"We are building (in) all of our games the ability to pay for things along the way, either to get to a higher level, to buy a new character, to buy a truck, a gun, (or) whatever."

-- Blake Jorgensen, CFO at EA

EA's earnings are hardly an exception, and while some critics of micro-transactions hope the practice might die out on its own, it's increasingly unlikely. Gamers have voted with their wallets, and while the majority may eschew DLC and its like, enough have paid for micro-transactions and in-game purchases that they are likely to become a permanent fixture. If they do vanish from the gaming landscape, it will only be because a more financially successful method has taken its place.

If micro-transactions are destined to ruin gaming, the best possible outcome is that they do it now, and do it quickly. The gaming industry can be naive, insular, myopic, and ignorant, but it has never failed to respond to the financial results of its actions. If micro-transactions as a practice are as cancerous and malignant as its biggest failures imply, failing fast is the best possible future for all parties involved. 

The most likely answer is the simplest, the safest, and most unexceptional: micro-transactions are here and they're going to be here for a while. When they cross the line, enough people will object that it ultimately becomes of little consequence. Most things ultimately are.

Team Fortress 2 Finally Gets Competitive Matchmaking Mon, 11 Jul 2016 05:29:52 -0400 Kevin S. Behan

Possibly in response to Overwatch's success, Team Fortress 2 is finally releasing a competitive multiplayer matchmaking service for its desktop version. Players will be able to queue up solo or with friends in six on six matches.

While the variety of weapons and equipment added over the years will be available to players, there are a few adjustments to make things a bit more manageable. For starters, random critical hits will be completely removed, now only able to come out as per the effects of specific items like the Axetinguisher or Kritzkrieg. Also some less noticeable random factors will be dialed down, such as shotgun spreads being made more consistent.

Not interested in ranked matches? Unranked players are getting a new matchmaking system as well. Instead of just dumping you into servers with specific requirements, such as using anti-cheat and playing Valve-approved maps, it will create 12v12 lobbies for you to play in. You might have to spend a bit of time waiting though. And if you leave the match part-way through, you'll be given lower priority in matchmaking.

Will you be queuing up in the matchmaking lobbies to find people to play with? Let me know in the comments!

Full Course: Gaming's Most Mouth-Watering Food Thu, 30 Jun 2016 08:23:23 -0400 Bran Rahl


Well, I hoped you enjoy my video game full course meal. Drop by the comments below and invite us to your VG Full Course or your favorite video game food! Till next time!


Honorable Mention: Cook Kirby's Soup

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Our apprentice chef was cooking up something delicious in the kitchen in preparation for today's meal. But unfortunately, Kirby got a little bit too excited for his soup. Even Mario will tell you that it was a bit too hot, and he throws fireballs!


Drink: Mana Potion

Every Fantasy RPG known to Mankind + More

Ah, how can we forget the drinks? The almighty Mana Potion, found in fantasy RPGs world wide, provides a refreshing taste to supplement your meal, while providing you with that extra MP to strike your enemies down with a well placed Meteor.


Dessert: The Cake


Crafted by a state-of-the-art AI known as GLaDOS, this cake was served to those special few who managed to succeed the Test Chambers at the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. It sounds too good to be true, but the taste is vouched for by Doug Rattmann, who says the it's like "a lie".


Entree: The Sandvich

Team Fortress 2

While we were planning to serve the Sandvich, I'm afraid our recovery team were all wiped out by a very hungry Heavy. So unfortunately, we're going to have to skip this until the next meal.


Meat: Well Done Steak

Monster Hunter Series

A staple in the Hunter lifestyle, the Well Done Steak is a delicious addition to our meal. Increasing a Hunter's Stamina and allowing them to keep on fighting, the monster meat is a fine addition that will surely help you survive... I mean enjoy...the rest of your meal (Cause who knows what all these power ups will do to you...).


Fish: Magikarp Sushi with Slowpoke Tails

Pokemon Series

Made from a fish that's abundant in the world and contains both the calmness of the sea and ferociousness of the ocean, the Magikarp Sushi is only known to the truly hungry Trainers who have ventured to Lake of Rage.


Accompanied by Slowpoke Tails, a famous delicacy known to reach a price of 1,000,000 PokeDollars, you would have to be an evil organization to not enjoy these.


Soup: Elixir Soup

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Also recognized as the favorite soup of the Hero of Winds, all other potions pale in comparison to its excellent taste. While it increases both HP and Magic to full, it also wonderfully doubles any traveling warrior's attack strength.


The recipe is known only to a kind and gentle grandmother living in a far away island in the Great Sea -- but the nice lady provided us with two servings for everyone. Isn't she the sweetest?


Hors d'oeuvre: Assorted Shrooms


To start off today's meal, we have a wonderful plate filled with assorted delicacies from the Mushroom Kingdom. Known to have miraculous effects, including but not limited to growing in size, reviving the dead, super speed, and even growing an entire propeller suit around your body. Just don't eat every colorful mushroom you see -- only those with Toad's seal of approval.


We're all here because we play (or played) video games. And I'm pretty sure that at least once, we've all looked at a video game food and thought: 


"I wonder what the heck that tastes like?"


While we may not be able to bring the flavor to real life, we can honor the delicious foods we've seen in various video games. Get ready for our Video Game Power Up Full Course -- a multi-course arrangement of gaming's most mouth-watering foods.


Let's start our meal, waiter.

These Are DUMBEST Ways Anyone Could Die In A Videogame Tue, 24 May 2016 10:33:26 -0400 Rick Ormsby

Let's take a trip down memory lane with 10 of the most idiotic ways a player can die in a video game. From failing a quick time event to simply standing in the wrong place at the wrong time, there's so many ways a player can become their own worst enemy. While some of these deaths are mindbogglingly frustrating, others are almost brutally enjoyable to watch. 

Team Fortress 2 Guide: Best Weapons in the Current Meta Mon, 18 Apr 2016 14:45:37 -0400 Serhii Patskan

Team Fortress 2 has an overwhelming amount of game modes. Each one of them requires players to take different approaches to their playstyle including the choice of weapons. In this guide you will find a selection of the best custom-made weapons for all nine classes in the game.

Each weapon has its specific purpose, so it’s up to you which of them fit your character the best within the chosen game mode.

Best Team Fortress 2 weapons for Offensive classes

Team Fortress 2 offensive classes


Scout’s primary default weapons are a scattergun, a pistol, and an aluminum baseball bat. However, the community has a number of better alternatives for this agile character. Here they are:

  • Soda Popper – a modified two-shot scattergun with a can of Crit-a-Cola attached to its bottom. This weapon deals more damage than the default one, plus its reload time is just as fast as that of a pistol making it the best type of weapon for Scout in this meta.
  • Boston Basher – a modified wooden club with spikes. It is a more effective melee weapon than the Scout’s default baseball bat, which also allows the character to perform triple or quad jumps.
  • Mad Milk/Crit-a-Cola – ingestible drinks used to give Scout critical hit damage and 25% faster speed of movement. However, both of these items increase the damage taken by Scout as well.

Soldier’s biggest advantage is his rocket launcher that allows him to jump to higher spots than the rest of the characters. However, there are slightly better versions of his stock weapons you should check out:

  • Beggar's Bazooka – a modified rocket launcher that doesn’t need to be reloaded and has a fire rate of up to 70% faster than the default weapon. It also deals more burst damage, but has a slightly smaller blast radius.
  • Shotgun/Concheror – a combination that can make your Beggar's Bazooka a bit safer to use and keep you from losing a lot of health in the process due to self damage. Shotgun is a typical scattergun used as a secondary weapon, but with the help of Concheror’s buffs you can speed up your teammates and heal both yourself and them at the same time.
  • Escape Plan/Gunboats – another combination used when you need to quickly back out. Escape Plan makes your character super fast at the expense of your health, but with Gunboats the self damage is reduced by 60%, so you’re not going to lose too much.

Just as this character’s name suggests, Pyro is a flamethrower specialist. His primary weapon can also be used to extinguish fire in the case he himself or his teammates are getting burned. Here are a few other great weapons Pyro can effectively use in the game:

  • Degreaser – a modified version of Pyro’s flamethrower. This upgraded weapon is much better than the stock, as it makes switching between different modes twice as fast, which is really important for executing combos.
  • Reserve Shooter – a modified version of a pump-action shotgun. This one is slightly faster than its stock counterpart and it also deals more damage including the critical hits.
  • Powerjack – a melee weapon of sorts. It can deal damage equal to other melee weapons, but if you kill an enemy with it, you will subsequently restore health. Also, Powerjack gives you 15% speed boost when equipped.

Best Team Fortress 2 weapons for Defense classes

Team Fortress 2 defense classes


Unfortunately, this character’s community-based pool of weapons got blatantly nerfed, but if you still want to take a look at some of his finest swords and shields, then here they are:

  • Eyelander/Half-Zatoichi – any of these two custom swords for Demoman is great. Eyelander is good for decapitating, which grants you bonus health and speed points. Half-Zatoichi can go even farther and overheal your character granting even more base health points, which is not a bad deal.
  • Splendid Screen – a special type of shield used for charging. A HUD even appears on the screen when Splendid Screen is equipped showing the charge meter.
  • Loose Cannon – a modified grenade launcher that looks like a pirate cannon. Although cannonballs fly faster than projectiles, they deal much less damage upon impact, but high speed can make all the difference.

This slow but extremely dangerous Russian character is mostly known for his use of mini-gun, which he gently calls “Sasha.” And, here are a few slightly better renditions of his primary and secondary weapons:

  • Tomislav – a modification of default mini-gun, which has a slightly lower fire rate, but a better accuracy. Also, you may want to take a look at the other mod of Heavy’s mini-gun – Natascha.
  • Gloves of Running Urgently – a melee weapon simply known as G.R.U., which looks like boxing gloves. The big thing about GRU is that it gives your character a solid 30% speed boost.
  • Fists of Steel – another great melee weapon for Heavy. The main advantage of Fists is that it reduces all damage that your character takes from non-melee weapons.

This highly skilled character is best when he’s using his Sentry Gun – a massive mini-gun that stands on a tripod. But you also want him to use other tools that will complement his Sentry:

  • Rescue Ranger – a modified shotgun that can teleport Engineer’s Sentry or any other building from a long range. More than that, when Rescue Ranger fires, it automatically restores health of all buildings in the Engineer’s possession.
  • Wrangler – a modified pistol that looks like a remote control, which it is. The Sentry Gun is an automatic weapon, but with the help of Wrangler Engineer can manually control his buildings.
  • Gunslinger – a secondary melee weapon that looks like a robotic hand. It can also be used as a tool for building Combat Mini-Sentry Gun, which is an even better version of the standard Sentry Gun.

Best Team Fortress 2 weapons for Support classes

Team Fortress 2 support classes


Medic’s main prerogative is to heal his teammates by using a special kind of weapon – Medi Gun. However, there are a few interesting choices for this classes that can also deal damage:

  • Crusader's Crossbow – a modified wooden crossbow designed in such a way that by shooting the healing syringes it not only deals damage to the enemies, but heals your teammates at the same time.
  • Übersaw – a modified bonesaw with a bloody needle that looks simply disgusting, but boosts your ÜberCharge every time you hit an enemy with it.
  • Vaccinator – a modified Medi Gun that allows Medic not only to heal, but also to choose a type of resistance that fits the occasion the most, such as bullet, fire or explosive resistances.

The default laser-sighted sniper rifle used by this class is actually a very good weapon and will serve you well on public servers. But if you really want to be competitive, then this is what you should get:

  • Machina – a modified sniper rifle inspired by a Longsword rifle from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It deals 15% more damage and has a piercing effect that sends bullets through the first target and successfully hits the other one behind it.
  • Bazaar Bargain – a stylized rifle that resembles a musket. It has a special bonus attached to it: for each headshot it boosts your charge meter by 25%.
  • Cozy Camper – a backpack with camping gear is a must for every Sniper player. It serves as a weight balancer that keeps your scope steady even if you get hit by other players.

Spy can be Engineer’s worst enemy by destroying his buildings, but other than that this is a really special character with a unique set of tools:

  • Ambassador – a modified version of stock revolver. It is slower and deals slightly less damage, but this iteration has an almost perfect accuracy and deals a critical hit with every headshot.
  • Dead Ringer – Spy’s most important disguise tool in a shape of a pocket watch. Dead Ringer cloaks an injured Spy for seven seconds and heals him from bleeding and fire damage.
  • Big Earner – a modified switchblade that increases the duration of the cloak effect and boosts Spy’s speed of attack by a few seconds.

Team Fortress 2 characters

You can now easily try all of these 27 awesome community-based weapons and see for yourself which of them fit your characters and playstyle the best.

What is your favorite modified weapon from Team Fortress 2 and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Looks like Team Fortress 2 is joining the competitive roster-here's how you can be a part of the beta! Sat, 20 Feb 2016 05:48:48 -0500 shox_reboot

With eSports becoming more popular, it's only right that more games step up to the plate and give more gamers the chance to play their games in a high stakes environment. It seems like the latest addition to this roster will be Team Fortress 2. 

While there already is a competitive scene out there for Team Fortress 2, it's mainly done by the game's own playerbase in an unofficial setting; which means that things like an accurate matchmaking system are missing. 

Valve seems to be laying the foundation to fix that problem with the announcement of signups for their Team Fortress 2 Competitive Beta Steam group which will allow players to begin testing the competitive matchmaking mode. 

If you'd like to signup and be a part of the beta, keep in mind that you might not be able to jump to it straight away, especially since Valve is only just beginning to roll out the tests:

Our plan is to start small and increase participation as we go. For this initial phase of testing - which will begin in the next week or so - we'll be gradually granting random members from this group an in-game item called a Competitive Matchmaking Beta Pass. Once you've been granted a pass you will have ongoing access to the beta.

It goes on to mention that there will be both announced and un-announced stress test events which will invite as many group members possible so it's definitely worth signing up since there is a high chance you'll be getting into testing sooner or later. 

It's also worth noting that priority for the beta will be given to group members who:

  • Have either purchased a copy of Team Fortress 2 prior to June 23, 2011, or have made a purchase from the Mann Co. Store. 
  • Have Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator enabled. 
  • Have a phone number associated with your Steam account.

So there you have it, make sure you sign up! While it may be too early to tell, this change has the potential to put Team Fortress 2 up there with the likes of Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 in the esports scene.

Good luck out there. 

Batman-inspired items coming to Team Fortress 2 Mon, 07 Dec 2015 12:44:52 -0500 Zanne Nilsson

A bunch of new community-made items inspired by Batman: Arkham Knight are coming to Team Fortress 2.

The items, which allow players to dress their characters up as people from the world of Batman, were the chosen winners of a Warner Bros.-sponsored contest from back in October when Arkham Knight was re-released on Steam. Some of the items - such as the Arkham Cowl, which can be worn by any character, and the Pyro-exclusive Fear Monger hood - will be available for free in Genuine Quality to users who bought that version of the game.

The winning items - the creators of which will be getting "a list of games from WB" - are as follows:

The Fear Monger

The Arkham Cowl

The Firefly

The honorable mentions, which will be "showcased in the Mann Co. Store along with the winning items," are:

The Teufort Knight

Pocket Villains

Retro Batbelt

The Buttler (belt only)

The Batter's Bracers

Sixties Sidekick Set (Sidekick's Side Slick, The Bat Backup, The Crook Combatant)

The Caped Crusader

The Hood of Sorrows

Batman: Arkham Knight returns to PC, Warner Bros. buys gamers' affection with lots of free stuff Wed, 28 Oct 2015 20:05:25 -0400 Andrea Koenig

Batman: Arkham Knight has officially swooped in and returned to Steam for PC gamers. After its original release in June, it was pulled due to bugs and poor quality. 

Warner Bros. announced that PC players will receive special free content for their troubles with the game. This content includes free Batman: Arkham games, special Arkham Knight pack(s), and the chance to receive free copies of more than two dozen Warner Bros. games on Steam.

These goodies are one giant "thank you" to their PC players. It feels more like they're trying to buy some affection after releasing a bad edition of a game, but free stuff, right? The lucky deadline for all things free is November 16.

Free Arkham Games

Gamers will be eligible to receive free copies of 4 other Arkham games if they have purchased Arkham Knight before November 16th for PC. Those who purchased the game before the pull do count toward this.

The free games are as follows:

Free Pack for PC Gamers First

Developers from Rocksteady will also be providing a "Community Challenge Pack".  This pack remains completely mysterious, without any of its content disclosed to the public. All we know is that it will be free and there are maps.

However, Warner Bros. did mention that players will be able to receive the maps from this pack one week before they arrive on consoles. 

Since there is still development happening, more details will be announced for the pack at a later time. Eligibility is based on whether players have purchased Arkham Knight by Nov 16.

Free Warner Bros. Games

Valve and Warner Bros. have teamed up for cross-game promotion of Arkham Knight and Team Fortress 2. The promotion lasts (once again) until November 16, as Valve challenges players to a contest:

Valve will choose winning players who create the best Arkham-themed items for Team Fortress 2. There is no entry limit, but there can only be two contributors per submission. Submit through the Team Fortress Item Import Tool and tag it with "Batman" to be eligible to win.

Valve will determine the winning items that will be given to all players who (you guessed it) purchased Arkham Knight by the Mid-November deadline, 10:00AM PT (1:00PM ET). You must have purchased Arkham Knight to submit as well.

As for the creators of the winning items, these lucky gamers will get more than two dozen free Warner Bros. games that are available on Steam, including:

For more details and guidelines for this contest, as well as the full list of potential games you can win, click here.

In case it didn't drive home hard enough. What you really need to do to get all this cool stuff is buy Batman: Arkham Knight before November 16. Do that, get free games and packs, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Team Fortress 2 hosts the ultimate Halloween event Mon, 28 Sep 2015 06:02:56 -0400 Khadija Dukes

Rather than concocting a brand new Halloween-themed event this year, Team Fortress 2 has decided to feature all of the previous Halloween updates for this year's Halloween event.

This year's update, which will not feature a new Halloween-themed event due to gaming updates, will showcase events from the past six years.

The update, which should be available at the end of the year, will feature new maps, cosmetics and a new campaign with contracts and weapons collections. Gamers will also see competitive matchmaking, perf, balance improvements and the moving of Manpower Mode out of beta with a new map.

The update will also display the best Halloween-themed community content.

To be considered for the showcase, gamers need only to tag each item they want to submit to the Workshop with the word 'Halloween.' Gamers will have until Oct. 18, 2015 to submit and tag any items up for consideration.

Unlike previous years, Halloween items will be viewable year-round.

What do you think of Team Fortress 2's epic Halloween showdown?

Zipf's Law: It connects gaming to everything and everything to gaming Thu, 01 Oct 2015 02:30:02 -0400 Review Yobo

A short while ago a friend of mine suggested I watch Vsauces video on Zipf's law, Pareto's principle and their mysterious appearances all around us. Here is a little teaser to gain your attention - 80% of all people live in 20% of most popular cities; 80% of all land belongs to 20% of wealthiest landlords; 80% of all trash is on the top 20% trashiest streets - as predicted by Zipf's law and Paretos principle.

Not enough? Well, as I discovered yesterday, the rabbit hole does not stop there... Full of scepticism, I decided to look at how much time people spend playing Steam games... Well. 80% of people's time is spent playing 20% of the most popular games... Interesting? Well, read on, there is more to this story.

Clocking in at over 20min, Vsauces endeavor is awesome and explains a lot of the big picture stuff about Zipf, however he is very shy at showing us the core mechanism that is widely believed to contribute to why Zipf works how it does. So before we go on I would like to briefly explain that.

Zipf's law explained

There are several conceptual ways to explain the intuition behind the 20/80 principle. The best example, in my opinion, is the one about Moon craters.

Basic experiment

So, imagine if you will, that there is an untouched Moon - a perfectly smooth surface. Now, say there are some randomly sized asteroids that hit the Moon willy-nilly. When the first asteroid lands, it leaves a crater. Now another one hits, leaving a crater elsewhere. Each crater is a part of the total surface area, therefore there is a chance that the next random asteroid will hit close to an existing crater and join with it, forming a group. The chance of a new asteroid hitting a given crater is then proportional to the craters and asteroids existing size. This means that the next random asteroid is more likely to join the largest existing group, making it even larger. A kind of cumulative process, which then creates a rich-get-richer poor-get-lonelier mechanism.
Keep this in mind, because that's believed to be the general explanation for "why" Zipfs law works with such mysterious universality. The asteroid example is quite simple, however the question is what will happen over many repetitions

A little bewildering?

Well, I made a gif to drive this initial point home. NB! the graph will be discussed later, just try and picture the experiment.

If we observe the actual Moon, it turns out that, as the amount of asteroids increases to large amounts, the crater diameters observed grow such that the top 20% of biggest craters approach 80% of all the surface area.

So as we go to more asteroids, the distribution of most popular to least popular groups approaches some kind of "ideal distribution" with this 20/80 property - a Pareto distribution. If you do the math, it turns out that (in general), if the largest group has size N, the second largest group is around size N/2, the third N/3 and so on and so forth. This is called the Zipf's Law. The weird thing is Zipf's Law and Pareto distribution works for a bewildering amount of elements (asteroids) and groups (crater clusters). Of course, there are skews and random disturbances, but the general trend is undeniable.
I hope you can see how asteroids being more likely to hit large craters on the Moon connects to cities being more attractive, if there are already more people living in them. However, one has to realize, cities are far from the only "groups" that behave according to Zipf.

Here are some examples from Mark Newmans research on Pareto distributions. NB! The graphs are in log-log scale which smooths out the hyperbolic form of the curves, presenting a nearly linear relation.

Initial y = aX^(-b)
Logs of both sides => log y = log a - b log X

Interestingly enough, the same trend is also displayed by religious cults... The shared property of most of these phenomenon is simply this "large-groups-get-larger" tendency. So Zipf's law is persistent in mechanisms, where the preferences of elements is positively connected to the groups size (meaning, the larger the group, the more likely it will grow). This is why I like to think of groups as clusters and elements as cluster-ers.

Zipf's Law in Steam markets

Suspicious of that last one? Here is the amount of time people spend on the most popular games on Steam.. Data from SteamSpy.

If you do the math, it turns out that 20% of most popular Steam games account for 80% of the total amount of playing, so the Pareto 20/80 mystery works like a charm here... One must notice, however that for Zipf to be true, CS:GO needs to account for 37,5%/2 = 18,8% of total time instead of a whopping 30%. But aside from this outlier (STOP PLAYING CS:GO), the Zipf-like distribution is clearly there.

Here is the amount of copies sold for the most popular games.

Looks much nicer eh? Copies sold does not have large outliers so it fits very well, which is a noteworthy difference. However, there is something more interesting to conclude from the differences of the last two graphs.
Do you notice how the "tail" going to the right is kind of fat in the second graph? Well, in simple terms, this tells us that the "relatively unpopular" games are actually quite a lot more popular than in the previous plot.
In fact, it turns out that 20% of most popular games account for only 60% of sales, versus 80% of playing. Interesting? You bet your ass it is.

What can we learn about Steam?

Well, the fact that game popularity follows Pareto distribution tell's us that, indeed there is some kind of a positive Network effect, which makes players choose games which are already being played by more people. What the difference in fatness of tails tells us is that Steam users are a lot more "group-size-blind", when buying games than they are when they play them.
Think about it - the more people buy games regardless of the "current popular opinion", the more flattened out the Pareto distribution gets, as it is less likely for large games to grow further. If nobody gave a rats butt about how many people already play a game and the availability of all games was the same, then we would expect 20% of most popular games to account for about 50% of sales and playtime (e.g. assuming individual preferences are normally distributed).


So there are two factors that contribute to the Pareto distribution in Steam markets - how innovative the developers are (how many new Moon craters are being formed) and how much the gamers (asteroids) value the current group size, when choosing which group to join. As it turns out, gamers are very group-size-blind when buying games, but just the opposite when they play them. Cool huh?

If you want to learn more about Zipf's Law and Power Law distributions, here is a nice lecture. Furthermore, be sure to have a look at Newman's paper!
If you want to read more of this kind of stuff, soon enough I will try to join this observation to a model, which shows that more popular multiplayer games have higher prices (which links to gamers preference to join groups of larger size). See the article here. The Piece De Resistance article will try and join these theories together explaining how multiplayer games, social networks and cities are in fact all anti-rival goods with network effects, (the more people consume a good, the more each individual consumer benefits) which has entitled them with this Zipfian mist of mystery...

Until then - enjoy yourselves!

P.S. Pop in a comment with a fun idea for a 20/80 relation you think might be true.

Mine are:
80% of peoples nostalgia is caused by 20% of their happiest memories (actually proven for the rate people forget information at)
80% of mass is concentrated in 20% of the largest space objects (actually proven for distribution of gravitational force)
And of course
80% of the mess in your toilet comes from 20% of what you eat (no academic research to speak of)

I am Bread received a Team Fortress 2 update Thu, 13 Aug 2015 20:18:23 -0400 Samantha Wright

Today, as a part of Bossa Studios’ ongoing collaboration with Valve, Bossa released a Team Fortress 2 update for I am Bread. I am Bread, released April 2015 for Mac and PC, focuses on a piece of bread that really wants to get toasted no matter the path he must take or the area in which he’s in. Though the bread in the update wants to become a sandwich, not toast, you can climb over the Heavy, fire a mini-gun, and ride a Balloonicorn.

The update released today at 5 pm GMT and is available for free on Steam for all players who already own the game. For those who don't already own I am Bread, the game is 50% off for a limited time to celebrate the release. 

I am Bread is set to release for the PlayStation 4 this summer, but no word on the official date has been announced.

From the words of Bossa, "Trust us when we say you really knead this….”

The game can be purchased on Steam here.

Top 10 Great Video Games Well-Suited for Short Bursts of Play Sun, 17 May 2015 13:30:01 -0400 Autumn Fish


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.


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.

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

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.


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

Settle it in Smash!

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Wii U


Average Match Time: 2 - 6 minutes


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


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!


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.


Unreal Tournament 2004

Cult Classic Futuristic FPS

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux


Average Match Time: 5 - 30 minutes


Find It: Steam, Website


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.


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!


Mirror's Edge

Cityscape Free-Runner with Action Sprinkled In

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


Average Chapter Length: 25 minutes


Find It: Website


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.


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. 


Crypt of the Necrodancer

Rhythm Rouge-Like Groovy Dungeon Crawler

Platforms: Windows, Max, Linux


Average Zone Length: 12 minutes


Find It: Website


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.


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).



Treasure-Hunting RPG FPS

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3


Average Play Time: Any


Find It: Website


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.


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.


Trine: Enchanted Edition

3-Character Fantasy Action Puzzler

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


Average Level Time: 30 - 45 minutes


Find It: Website


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.


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!



Eerie Puzzle-Platforming Adventure

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


Average Play Time: Any


Find It: Website


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.


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!


Animal Crossing: New Leaf

3DS Village/Life Simulation Game

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS


Average Play Time: 1 hour


Find It: Website


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.


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.


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.


Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Multiplayer TCG w/ Smart Phone Support

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Andriod, iOS


Average Game Time: 10 minutes


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


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.


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.


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.


Team Fortress 2

FPS Team Multiplayer Lobby-Based Shooter

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


Average Match Length: 20 - 40 minutes


Maximum Match Length: 1 hour


Find It: Website, Steam


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).


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.

Transparency: Microtransactions exist because gamers are suckers Fri, 24 Apr 2015 09:33:57 -0400 Larry Everett

Perhaps it's my age or the length of time that I’ve been in the industry, but it seems that the customer base for gaming is getting more and more gullible. I’m not saying that you are particularly gullible. Of course, it’s always someone else, right? I mean, I preordered Elder Scrolls Online even though it was clearly unfinished when the game launched because I was going to cover the game for a website. I wasn’t forced to take the assignment, but that’s beside the point, right? I’m not a gullible person.

Everyone has their reasons to be gullible. I reluctantly have to admit that I’m gullible when it comes to Star Wars games. I have the unfortunate privilege to have played nearly every single Star Wars game ever made even if it was bad. I’m looking at you, Masters of Teras Kasi. I guess it could be said that it’s my vice when it comes to games.

This week, I’d like to point out some of the ways that developers try to trick you into buying their products, even if you don’t necessarily want it. Some of these might seem obvious, but when you look back at your gaming purchases, I bet you’ll find more than one game or in-game item that you bought because of these reasons. But ultimately, I want to express how to avoid them.Unfortunately, everyone has these vices. Developers and, especially, publishers like to feed on these vices. And it’s really bad because beyond the research groups and metrics, developers know our vices because they are gamers themselves, and they know how to best take advantage.

You love certain intellectual property

The obvious way to use intellectual property is to create a game that based on that IP. Nearly every Star Wars game now uses IP to sell its product. We can look at many of that IP’s games as reskins of existing games. But the use of IP stretches beyond building a whole game on the subject.

Developers will push certain microtransactions when other IPs are popular. How many people do you think bought a deerstalker hat in Team Fortress 2 when the latest season of Sherlock was released, or more recently the dwarf-like beard with the Hobbit movies’ releases. Although these items aren’t owned by those who own the IP, but these kinds of microtransactions feed off the IP’s popularity.

That being said, IP by itself is a huge draw to a whole game. As lovers of certain IPs, we expect to gain the same feeling playing the game as we do when reading the book or watching the movie. Some games use the IP well; the Batman Arkham series does a wonderful job of capturing the feeling of being Batman from the comics and the Dark Knight movies. However, Batman Arkham is the exception to all the shovelware out there.

My advice would be to hold off on a lot of purchases that have a strong IP pull. Ask yourself, would I buy this game if it weren't an Avengers game, for instance? Have you seen what the gameplay is really like? Have you put a controller in your hand and run through a level or two? If you can’t say yes to those questions, then it might not be a good idea to buy the item.

It's only a minor cost

I’ve looked at some in-game items and thought, “Well, it’s only $2 what do I have to lose?” I’m not begrudging developers from making a buck or two, but many times microtransactions blind us to what we are really getting, which is usually nothing. Of course, it’s not a lot of money, and if you have money to blow on useless items, I don’t have a problem with your spending it on things you enjoy. But I suggest that you figure out if you’re actually going to enjoy it before making the purchase.

Sometimes when a developer drops the carrot of microtransactions, it’s really just to help line their own pockets. Developers know that most of the money a game is going to make is during the first month of launch. So it has to stack the deck right at the beginning because there is no better time to make money off the game. Developers will toss out things like season passes that will automatically give you a certain number of updates for a one-time fee. Most of the time these updates are already made or not far down the pipeline, meaning whether or not you’re going to make the purchase they will get made anyway.

Developers ask you to toss a few extra dollars their way because when making a $50 dollar purchase $10 or $15 more doesn’t seem like a lot. Again, I return to the question: Would you have bought this item anyway? Is it going to enhance your overall enjoyment of the game or are you just buying it because it’s cheap? Regarding season passes, will you be playing the game beyond a month? If you can’t answer 'definitely yes', then you might consider not buying the game, or at very least, the season pass.

Microtransactions are our fault

Ultimately, the reasons behind some of the scammy parts of gaming ranging from early access to microtransactions are your fault. If you and the other “suckers” out there wouldn’t given into these traps, then companies would stop doing it.

Games are designed to make money. Big named publishers will not back a game that they think will not make them money. Some game designers do it out of the love for games, but I can tell you that CEOs and other executives of gaming publishers aren’t looking to make the next great game; they are looking for the next great sale.

And the best way to say no to a developer is to stop buying the things you don’t like. I don’t care if Daredevil is popular right now, don’t buy him in Marvel Heroes Online if you’re not going to play him. It doesn’t matter if that hat in Grand Theft Auto V is only fifty cents; it’s not worth telling the developer that you like those kinds of transactions. Stop being a sucker.

Of course, it’s always someone else, right?

10 Sequels That Blew Away the Original Sun, 15 Mar 2015 07:06:08 -0400 The Soapbox Lord


Halo 2 - Xbox


Halo was a landmark game which helped launch Microsoft’s foray into the console world. Halo was a system seller and the reason many of us gathered for grand multiplayer battles with our friends.


If Halo blew us away, Halo 2 knocked our socks off with a Chuck Norris roundhouse, and then put our socks back on only to blow us out of them again. Halo 2 had a more memorable campaign and more developed story than its predecessor. More importantly though, the sequel’s multiplayer laid the foundation for the multiplayer we know and love today. Besides adding more maps, customization options, and weapons, the addition of online multiplayer via the new Xbox Live service helped invigorate online multiplayer for the console world. When the original Live service was getting shut down, Spartans were still waging battles worldwide.


The release of the Master Chief Collection has allowed players to relive the glory days in glorious HD, further cementing this classic into the memories of players everywhere.


Also, the Arbiter > Master Chief. It had to be said. 


Diablo 2 - PC


The original Diablo was a moody hack-n-slash with a dark, Gothic atmosphere and plenty of enemies to transform into gory corpses. The sequel had more of the same, which was not a problem in the case of Diablo, but added even more ways to entice players to play their life hacking away at enemies.


Blizzard added more classes for the sequel. On top of the additional classes, an item crafting system and a new loot classification system were added, along with a host of enhancements for the online experience. Diablo 2 enticed players to click long into the night and has kept them busy to this day. 


Timesplitters 2 - Xbox, Gamecube, & PS2


Timesplitters was developed by the team at Free Radical, most notably composed of people who had worked on the classic FPS Goldeneye. Timesplitters was met with a warm reception both by critics and players alike. For the sequel, Free Radical went all-out with the zany and ridiculous, leading to a shooter unlike anything before and after it.


How many other shooters allow you to play as monkeys, zombies, ninjas, and all sorts of other characters with one of the most robust and fleshed-out multiplayer experiences to date? The campaign was also great, with varied and interesting levels. You know, everything a good shooter should have. Now if only Crytek would hop to an HD release or a new entry in the series.


Super Smash Bros. Melee - Gamecube


Ah, Super Smash Bros. Many fond memories were had playing SSB on the N64. When released, our inner fanboys squealed in delight as we realized dreams of Nintendo characters duking it out could be a reality. We tolerated the abysmal framerate and the awkward N64 controller for hours on end, simply for the joy and good times to be had.


With the release of the Gamecube came the second entry in the series, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and a host of improvements. Once again, improved technology vastly improved the player experience, resulting in a more stable and enjoyable play session. More characters, inventive stages, and a plethora of modes and extras led to arguably the best Smash game to date. The competitive scene certainly thinks so. 


Hitman 2 - Xbox, Gamecube, & PS2


Hitman: Codename 47 was an interesting release, but was flawed in some key areas. If not for Agent 47’s presence, Hitman 2 could be mistaken for a completely new franchise. Adding more open levels, player freedom, and ironing out stealth mechanics proved successful for IO Interactive and the Hitman series. Hiitman 2 also led to some of the most memorable levels we have seen in the franchise thus far. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to make a trip to St. Petersburg.


System Shock 2 - PC 


The first System Shock took the world by storm upon its release in 1994. The game was something truly unique and ground-breaking. System Shock 2 was all of that and more. With better technology came a more chilling atmosphere, terrifying enemies, and one of the most unnerving antagonists in gaming: S.H.O.D.A.N. This game is considered one of the greatest and most influential - for good reason, as elements of the game can be seen in releases to this day, most notably the Bioshock series. 


Team Fortress 2 - PC


Some players would debate upon whether TF 2 or TF Classic is superior, but it is difficult to argue against TF 2. Since releasing in 2007, the game has received consistent updates packed with additional (FREE) content, and the game itself is completely free to everyone. Diverse classes, great map design, a dedicated community, and varied game modes have helped launch TF 2 into immortality. Now how about learning to count to three Valve?


Saints Row 2 - Xbox 360 & PS3


Saints Row was a GTA imitator which did not do much to set itself apart from other games of its ilk. For the sequel, Violition decided to go all out in the ridiculous department, giving players an open world game unlike any they had ever seen. The series went from a straight-faced gangster story in the original, to having a mission where players drive a truck that shoots sewage at bystanders in the sequel. The shift worked, and three entries later we have played as the President fighting aliens, been to hell, and wielded a dubstep gun. Wub Wub.


Just Cause 2 - Xbox 360 & PS3


Just Cause was met with mixed reception upon launch. Just Cause 2’s launch was the exact opposite and rightly so. Just Cause 2 gave players a massive world to wreak havoc in, as well as the tools necessary to do so. More importantly though, the game gave players the freedom to enact their craziest dreams and a versatile grappling hook to bring those dreams to fruition. You can also surf planes. ‘Nuff said. 


Silent Hill 2 - PS2 & Xbox


The original Silent Hill was a classic and a huge influence on games, especially the survival-horror genre. Silent Hill 2 was a massive improvement on the original in every way. Having the advantage of the power of the PS2 and the Xbox brought the creepy town and nightmarish monsters to terrifying life. There is a reason this is considered not only one of the best games of all time, but also one of the scariest. It also gave us Pyramid Head. A good thing right? 


Sometimes game sequels are so much improved over the original, they completely obliterate their predecessors. In order to narrow down the list of candidates, I decided to only include direct sequels; otherwise, this list might include a hundred games! Feel free to let us know if we missed any of your favorite sequels.