Month: December 2017

Stop rushing to beat your new video games

Posted on December 31, 2017  in Video Games

Even a game like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which is much more linear than Odyssey and Breath of the Wild, is better enjoyed at a slower pace. That goes against what Uncharted stands for, as the franchise is primarily focused on action and platforming. But the world of The Lost Legacy is just so sumptuous that it deserves to be appreciated before rushing to the next objective. Stop, look, and listen the next time you boot the game up.

Slowing down will reveal the smaller details developers put into the games we play. When you visit the Grand Canyon, it can certainly be admired while driving past at 60mph. But to truly soak in the experience, you need to stop and forget about what’s ahead—like that next game on your list.

In Odyssey, I get enjoyment out of the smallest thing. Stopping next to a boombox and watching Mario dance, for example. Moments like these might be missed when you race to the end. Some games, like Playdead’s Inside, don’t really reward players for exploration since it wasn’t designed that way, so this going slow thing doesn’t apply to every single title. But I digress.

I’ll admit, while playing Resident Evil 7, I tried getting through the experience as quickly as possible simply because it was absolutely terrifying. Even still, I took a few moments here and there to admire the game’s impressive attention to detail, like the home’s squalid decor.

So, the next title you feel rushed to complete, fight the urge. I’m anxious to get through my catalog of titles, some of which are years old. But unless you’re a speedrunner, it’s worth it to slow down every once and while. Games like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey deserve to be savored, not devoured in one sitting.

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Month: December 2017

Most exciting video games for 2018: Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption 2, Monster Hunter World and more

Posted on December 31, 2017  in Video Games

2018 Video Game Preview
A Way Out, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Spider-Man.
EA / Rockstar Games / Sony

This year has been a top year for video game releases, but will 2018 be even better? We’re as hopeful as ever and the games we do know will be released are looking every bit the equal of their slightly older cousins.

Sony has a barnstorming array of exclusives on the way – including God of War, Days Gone and a title that’s made our list. Nintendo will be hoping to continue its recent run of top form. And Microsoft will be hoping to strike any sort of form at all.

Below we run through our ten most anticipated games of 2018.

There are big games, small games, serious games, fun games, but not – before the complaints flood in – The Last of Us: Part 2 and Death Stranding, which almost certainly won’t be released in 2018.

Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Without a doubt the biggest game of 2018 is Rockstar’s first since Grand Theft Auto 5.

To say expectations are high would be an understatement but that’s never stopped the legendary studio delivering on its promise before.

Set before its famed predecessor, Red Dead Redemption 2 follows Arthur Morgan, a member of the Dutch van der Linde gang that John Marston, protagonist of the 2010 classic, also ran with. Will Marston appear? It’s a safe bet, we reckon.

If he does, he’d be part of a cast sure to be filled with the memorable characters Rockstar is known for, delivering the kind of mature, smart dialogue that made the last game stand out. There will be an online side to the game as well, owing to the success of GTA Online. There have been no details but it’s only a matter of time.

Release date: Q2 2018

Spider-Man (PS4)

Spider-Man games will continue to be made until some day, somehow, a developer once again captures the sensation of swinging through New York City that 2004 movie tie-in Spider-Man 2 replicated so well.

The movement, momentum, that feeling like a breeze was blowing through your hair with each swing – no game about the web-slinger has come close. How new Spidey games attempt to rekindle that magic is always the first question posed to those developing them, and that didn’t change when Insomniac’s PS4 exclusive was announced in 2016.

With games like Ratchet and Clank and Sunset Overdrive under its belt, Insomniac appears to be a good fit for the licence, and with this being a PS4 exclusive expectations are sky-high for the game’s release, which is expected in the summer

Release date: 2018

#WarGames (TBA)

Her Story was the breakout indie game of 2015. Written, designed and published by solo developer Sam Barlow, it was a stunning, wholly engrossing work of interactive fiction rooted in an exceptionally clever idea.

His follow-up is entirely unexpected and sees him put an interactive spin on a reboot of 1980s cult movie WarGame, a Cold War favourite about hackers and thermonuclear war starring Matthew Broderick.

Her Story tasked players with searching a decades-old police database for interview footage in an effort to piece together a murder mystery. It was a masterclass in nonlinear and interactive storytelling, and we can’t wait to see what Barlow has in store with this more contemporary tale.

Release date: 2018

Sea of Thieves
A gang of pirates in Rare’s Sea of Thieves.
Microsoft

Sea of Thieves (Xbox One, PC)

In more than three decades of making video games, Rare hasn’t once made a game about pirates. That’s true of a lot of veteran developers of course, but having played Sea of Thieves it seems odd in the case of the British studio given just how perfect a pairing it is.

Every part of Rare’s open-world, co-operative pirate adventure is fun, whether you’re working as a team to sail a ship, exploring sunken vessels for treasure, turning a map around to show your fellow pirateers or just eating a banana.

In less than an hour with the game at Gamescom last year I fought off skeletons, engaged in naval combat, patched up a sinking ship, explored the ocean depths, dug up treasure on a tropical island, got drunk on mead, was eaten by a shark and navigated a huge storm.

With friends and a game full of other players, Sea of Thieves could be special.

Release date: 20 March

A Way Out (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

When EA steps out for its annual E3 media showcase it’s usually quite easy to predict what it will have in store. There will be numerous sports games, DICE’s latest, a Need for Speed sequel possibly, maybe a Sims title or BioWare’s latest, and something smaller-scale for some indie street cred.

This year that smaller something was A Way Out, a game from Hazelight Studios led by many of the people behind Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons: a sorely underrated gem from 2013.

A Way Out is built specifically for multiplayer co-op with two players controlling different characters playing very different roles in the story. The two follow different paths presented via split-screen but come together for certain story beats.

The decisions made as these characters will affect the other’s story and decisions made together (who does what, for example) will feed into a branching narrative about two prisoners who escape.

Release date: 23 March

Jurassic World Evolution
A T-Rex wreaking havoc in Jurassic World Evolution.
Frontier Developments

Jurassic World Evolution (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Jurassic World is the fourth highest-grossing film of all time and next year its sequel, Fallen Kingdom, arrives in cinemas. Alongside it will be the first major Jurassic Park video game since Telltale’s rather disappointing narrative adventure in 2011.

Rather than a big action game, Jurassic World Evolution is about players building and running their own dinosaur-filled theme park. You’ll engineer dinos, lay out their enclosures, welcome guests to the park and, inevitably, deal with the deadly creatures getting loose.

It’s obviously a perfect fit for the series and developer Frontier brings to it its significant experience with the RollerCoaster Tycoon games and, more recently, 2016’s Planet Coaster.

Release date: Q2 / Q3

Minit (PC)

Minit is minimalist, monochromatic and minuscule. In fact, it’s only 60 seconds long. Sort of.

Developed by a group of four friends, Minit is set in a top-down world and stars a tiny hero who has just 60 seconds to live. Players have just one minute to explore the world around them, find tools and solve nearby puzzles before they die. And there’s nothing that can be done to avoid it.

Your little, mortal body might expire but progress does not. Each time the player respawns they keep their weapons and puzzles solved or pathways cleared remain so, meaning it’s possible to reach further with each new life.

Minit could prove to be an inventive respite from the expansive worlds, giant monsters and city-saving exploits of other games on this list.

Release date: 2018

Vampyr (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Vampyr is a small open-world game compared to most but that serves a purpose. Dontnod’s brooding action RPG is focused on how its players interact with and have an impact on this world: a fantastical recreation of Victorian London, beset by Spanish flu.

In Vampyr, you play as Jonathan Reid, a doctor who has to contend with being a vampire. As you can imagine, this clashes a bit with the Hippocratic oath. Throughout the game he will need to feed on the people of London but who he picks will have ramifications for fellow characters and the areas they live in.

Release date: Q1 / Q2

Monster Hunter World
A group of hunters take on a rathalos in promotional art for Monster Hunter World.
Capcom

Monster Hunter World (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Given the popularity of Monster Hunter, it’s amazing the series hasn’t graced a home console in nearly eight years. The potential of Capcom’s open-world RPG on top-of-the-line hardware has been apparent in past iterations for PS2, Wii and more recently Nintendo 3DS – and only now are getting to see that potential realised.

Heading to PS4, Xbox One and PC, Monster Hunter World could well be when the series finds true global success. It certainly has the ingredients to appeal to a wide audience (huge monsters, thrilling action, a focus on co-op play, smaller monsters) and this particularly entry is geared towards drawing new players in.

Release date: 26 January

Nintendo’s Big Switch Exclusive

Nintendo hasn’t yet announced its plans for 2018, but after a banner year and with the new Switch flying off the shelves the company needs to keep its momentum going. There’s unlikely to be a double bill as good as Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey but Nintendo surely has something big up its sleeve.

A Nintendo Direct broadcast is expected to arrive in January outlining the year ahead and it’s there that we’re likely to find out what it has in store as next year’s big Switch exclusive. Our money is on Animal Crossing.

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Month: December 2017

The 12 Best Video Games Of 2017

Posted on December 30, 2017  in Video Games

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Month: December 2017

Like your video games a bit too much? WHO thinks you might have ‘gaming disorder’

Posted on December 30, 2017  in Video Games

North Americans had “Pac-Man Fever” as far back as 1981, but it has taken until now for the World Health Organization to officially recognize that playing video games too often could be a mental health disorder.

The WHO is planning to add the term “gaming disorder” to its official list of diseases in 2018, according to a draft of the organization’s 2018 International Classification of Diseases.

The WHO’s description of Gaming Disorder says that those who are afflicted are characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour, either on digital devices like smartphones or video-gaming offline on machines.

Read more:

16-hour video game binges almost ruined Calgary teen’s life

Article Continued Below

According to the WHO’s description you may have a problem if your symptoms include impaired control over gaming — you just can’t stop playing. Right now you are jonesing for a round of Horizon: Zero Dawn, Assassin’s Creed: Origins or Star Wars: Battlefront II, and you feel that millions are playing at this very second while you’re left out. This could be a red flag.

Or, you give an increased priority to playing video games to the point they take precedence over other life interests and daily activities like eating and sleeping and socializing.

And, the continuation and escalation of gaming continues even after you suffer negative consequences like getting fired for playing on company time or you keep losing relationships because you just aren’t present.

The WHO’s classification means that doctors and insurance companies can recognize gaming disorder as a disease.

The WHO’s clinical description does not include prevention or treatment options.

But Forbes suggests you can self-diagnose by asking yourself the same questions people use to detect alcohol addition. Just swap the word “alcohol” for “gaming.” If you identify strongly with the four questions you may have a problem and are advised to try to cut down:

  • Have you ever felt you should cut down on your gaming?
  • Have people annoyed you by criticizing your gaming?
  • Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your gaming?
  • Are video games usually the first thing you think about in the morning when you wake up?


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Month: December 2017

Tech: The 50 best video games of all time, according to critics

Posted on December 30, 2017  in Video Games

There are dozens of ways you could put together a list of the best video games ever made. You could look to classics, like “Super Mario Bros.” here.


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(Nintendo)

You could look at impact on the medium, or highest sales. You could write down your personal favorites on pieces of paper, then throw them into the air. Where the pieces land? That’s your list.

But what we’ve got here is something slightly more scientific. Reviews aggregation site Metacritic compiles all reviews of games, then it averages those scores into an overall average. What you’ll find below is the top 50 highest-rated games of all time, based on the averages obtained by Metacritic. We made one small change: Since there are a handful of duplicates on the list (multiple versions of the same game, released on multiple platforms), we’ve just taken the highest-ranked version of the game to make room for a handful of games that wouldn’t have otherwise made the list.

Without further ado, these are the 50 best video games of all time:

50. “Devil May Cry”


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50. “Devil May Cry”

(Capcom)

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.6/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In a large American metropolis, a man named Dante, a private investigator of the supernatural, is seeking revenge for the death of his mother and brother. The world is waiting, for Dante is no ordinary man, and with his father’s sword in hand, he must enter the demon realm and avenge mankind.”

Platforms: PC, iOS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

49. “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4”


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49. “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4”

(Activision)

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Build your skills, earn respect, and show that you’ve got what it takes to Go Pro. 190 progressively harder goals. No time clock, no constraints. Pro-specific challenges. Evolving levels. Interact with other skaters. Multi-player modes. Customize your game…Your career is what you make of it.”

Platforms: GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, Tapwave Zodiac, OS X, PC

48. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”


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48. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”

(Activision)

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 6.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Modern Warfare 2’ continues the gripping and heart-racing action as players face off against a new threat dedicated to bringing the world to the brink of collapse. An entirely new gameplay mode which supports 2-player co-operative play online that is unique from the single player story campaign. Special Ops pits players into a gauntlet of time-trial and objective-based missions. Rank-up as players unlock new Special Ops missions, each more difficult. Missions include highlights from the single player campaign, fan favorites from ‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’ and all new, exclusive missions. Setting a new bar for online multiplayer, ‘Modern Warfare 2’ multiplayer delivers new capabilities, customization, game states and modes, including: Create-a-Class Evolved. Secondary Weapons – Machine Pistols, Shotguns, Handguns, Launchers. Riot Shields. Equipment – Throwing Knives, Blast Shield, Tactical Insertion. Perk Upgrades. Bling (Dual Attachments). Customizable Killstreaks – AC130, Sentry Gun, Predator Missile, Counter-UAV, Care Package. Accolades (Post match reports).”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, OS X

47. “Final Fantasy IX”


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47. “Final Fantasy IX”

(Square Enix)

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The last ‘Final Fantasy’ for the PlayStation, ‘Final Fantasy IX’ returns to the pure fantasy roots that spawned the series. This latest installment features highly detailed characters, vehicles, and environments, and breathtaking cinema-graphics. The addition of brand new features such as the story-enhancing Active Time Event system and the return of mini-games that grant additional gameplay make ‘Final Fantasy IX’ not only a memorable gaming experience, but also a significant step forward in the series.”

Platforms: PlayStation, iOS, Android, PC, PlayStation 4

46. “BioShock Infinite”


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46. “BioShock Infinite”

(2K Games)

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Once conceived as a floating symbol of American ideals at a time when the United States was emerging as a world power, Columbia has been dispatched to distant shores with great fanfare by a captivated public. What begins as a brand new endeavor of hope turns drastically wrong as the city soon disappears into the clouds to whereabouts unknown. The player assumes the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to the lost city to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman imprisoned there since childhood. He develops a relationship with Elizabeth, augmenting his abilities with hers so the pair may escape from a city that is literally falling from the sky. DeWitt must learn to fight foes in high-speed Sky-Line battles, engage in combat both indoors and amongst the clouds, and engage the power of dozens of new weapons and abilities.

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

45. “World of Goo”


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45. “World of Goo”

(2D Boy)

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘World of Goo’ is a physics based puzzle / construction game. The millions of Goo Balls that live in the beautiful ‘World of Goo’ don’t know that they are in a game, or that they are extremely delicious.”

Platforms: Wii, PC, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS, Nintendo Switch

44. “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain”


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44. “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain”

(Konami)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 7.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Following the prologue Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain concludes the Metal Gear Solid V experience by following the story of the protagonist of the series, Big Boss (a.k.a. Snake). The Metal Gear Solid V experience is Creator and Director Hideo Kojima’s first time incorporating open world gameplay to the groundbreaking Metal Gear franchise.”

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

43. “Portal 2”


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43. “Portal 2”

(Valve Software)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Portal 2’ is the sequel to the title named “Game of the Year” 2007 by over 30 publications around the world. ‘Portal 2’ promises to break new ground in next generation gaming by expanding the award-winning recipe of innovative gameplay, immersive story, and creative inclusion of music while also introducing multiplayer co-op game modes.”

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

42. “Madden NFL 2003”


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42. “Madden NFL 2003”

(EA Sports)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 7.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Take Your Game Online: Access an online community where you can meet, chat, and play head-to-head against other gamers. Audio Dream Team: Dynamic play-by-play and analysis by Madden and Michaels. All-New Mini-camp: Hop on John Madden’s Cruiser Tour Bus and travel to all NFL cities to complete skilled tasks. Create-A-Playbook: Customize receiver routes, player formations, and your team’s entire playbook. Deepest Franchise Mode Ever: Play 30 years of Franchise mode and draft players each season with tips from your scouts.”

Platforms: Game Boy Advance, PC, GameCube, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox

41. “The Last of Us”


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41. “The Last of Us”

(The Last Of Us)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Twenty years after a pandemic radically transformed known civilization, infected humans run amok and survivors kill one another for sustenance and weapons – literally whatever they can get their hands on. Joel, a salty survivor, is hired to smuggle a fourteen-year-old girl, Ellie, out of a rough military quarantine, but what begins as a simple job quickly turns into a brutal journey across the country.”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

40. “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask”


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40. “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask”

(Nintendo)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Thrown into a parallel world by the mischievous actions of a possessed Skull Kid, Link finds a land in grave danger. The dark power of a relic called Majora’s Mask has wreaked havoc on the citizens of Termina, but their most urgent problem is a suicidal moon crashing toward the world. Link has only 72 hours to find a way to stop its descent.”

Platforms: Nintendo 64, Nintendo 3DS

39. “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past”


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39. “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past”

(World of Longplays/YouTube)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In a ‘Link to the Past,’ Link travels between the light world and the dark world, conquering fierce monsters and uncovering Hyrule’s deepest secrets along the way.”

Platforms: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy Advance, Virtual Console (various platforms)

38. “Halo 2”


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38. “Halo 2”

(Microsoft)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The Covenant alien race threatens to destroy all humankind, and the only thing standing in its way is Master Chief, a genetically enhanced supersoldier. Master Chief returns in ‘Halo 2,’ which features new vehicles, weapons, environments, and more. This time, you can interact with your environment, wield two weapons at the same time, board opponents’ vehicles, and even switch sides to play the role of a Covenant Elite. ‘Halo 2’ also supports broadband multiplayer action via Xbox Live.”

Platforms: Xbox, Xbox One

37. “Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec”


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37. “Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec”

(Sony)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “With the addition of two new courses (a downtown Tokyo circuit and the Monte Carlo Grand Prix course), an impressive range of cars (from Vipers to Cooper Minis), and a soundtrack featuring everything from Lenny Kravitz to Jimi Hendrix, this highly anticipated title is finally ready to be driven.”

Platform: PlayStation 2

36. “Red Dead Redemption”


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36. “Red Dead Redemption”

(Rockstar Games)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Developed by Rockstar San Diego, as a follow up to the 2004 hit game ‘Red Dead Revolver,’ ‘Red Dead Redemption’ is a Western epic, set at the turn of the 20th century when the lawless and chaotic badlands began to give way to the expanding reach of government and the spread of the Industrial Age. The story of former outlaw, John Marston, ‘Red Dead Redemption’ takes players on a great adventure across the American frontier. Utilizing Rockstar’s proprietary Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), ‘Red Dead Redemption’ features an open-world environment for players to explore, including frontier towns, rolling prairies teeming with wildlife, and perilous mountain passes – each packed with an endless flow of varied distractions. Along the way, players experience the heat of gunfights and battles, meet a host of unique characters, struggle against the harshness of one of the world’s last remaining wildernesses, and ultimately pick their own precarious path through an epic story about the death of the Wild West and the gunslingers that inhabited it.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

35. “The Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition”


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35. “The Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition”

(Nintendo)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Receive four complete classic Zelda games all on one disc when you buy the Zelda GameCube Bundle: ‘The Legend of Zelda,’ ‘Zelda II – The Adventure of Link,’ ‘The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,’ ‘The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.'”

Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System, Virtual Console (various platforms)

34. “LittleBigPlanet”


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34. “LittleBigPlanet”

(Media Molecule / Sony)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 6.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In ‘LittleBigPlanet,’ players meet on a blue and green planet scattered with individual plots – and use their character’s amazing abilities to play, create and share what they build with other gamers throughout the world via the PlayStation Network. The ‘LittleBigPlanet’ experience starts with players learning about their character’s powers to interact physically with the environment. There are places to explore, creative resources to collect and puzzles to solve – all requiring a combination of brains and collaborative teamwork. As soon as players begin their creative skills will grow and they will soon be ready to start creating and modifying their surroundings – the first step to sharing them with the whole community. Characters have the power to move anything in this glued and stitched-together 3D landscape; they have the power to design, shape and build both objects and entire locations for others to view and play. There’s no complicated level editor; all of these skills can be learned by simply playing the game. Creativity is part of the gameplay experience and playing is part of the creative experience. Players can make their world as open or as secretive to explore as they like. When it’s ready, they can invite anyone within the LittleBigPlanet community to come and explore their patch – or can go and explore everybody else’s.”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

33. “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”


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33. “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”

(Rockstar Games)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.7/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Welcome to Vice City. Welcome to the 1980s. Having just made it back onto the streets of Liberty City after a long stretch in maximum security, Tommy Vercetti is sent to Vice City by his old boss, Sonny Forelli. They were understandably nervous about his re-appearance in Liberty City, so a trip down south seemed like a good idea. But all does not go smoothly upon his arrival in the glamorous, hedonistic metropolis of Vice City. He’s set up and is left with no money and no merchandise. Sonny wants his money back, but the biker gangs, Cuban gangsters, and corrupt politicians stand in his way. Most of Vice City seems to want Tommy dead. His only answer is to fight back and take over the city himself. Vice City offers vehicular pleasures to suit every taste. For the speed enthusiast, there’s high-performance cars and motorbikes. For the sportsman, a powerboat or a golf buggy lets you enjoy the great outdoors. For those that need that sense of freedom and escape, why not charter a helicopter and see the beauty of Vice City from the air.”

Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Fire OS

32. “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”


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32. “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”

(Rockstar Games)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Five years ago Carl Johnson escaped from the pressures of life in Los Santos, San Andreas… a city tearing itself apart with gang trouble, drugs and corruption. Where film stars and millionaires do their best to avoid the dealers and gangbangers. Now, it’s the early 90s. Carl’s got to go home. His mother has been murdered, his family has fallen apart and his childhood friends are all heading towards disaster. On his return to the neighborhood, a couple of corrupt cops frame him for homicide. CJ is forced on a journey that takes him across the entire state of San Andreas, to save his family and to take control of the streets.”

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, Mac, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Fire OS

31. “Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn”


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31. “Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn”

(Black Isle Studios / Interplay Entertainment)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “An epic continuation of the story that began in ‘Baldur’s Gate,’ this RPG is set along the southern portion of the Sword Coast, a detailed and rich area of the Forgotten Realms called Amn. It features 300 spells and 130-plus monster types compared to only 130 spells and 60 monster types in ‘Baldur’s Gate.'”

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

30. “Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty”


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30. “Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty”

(Konami)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Since the incident on Shadow Moses Island, Metal Gear’s top-secret technology has been leaked into the black market through the machinations of Revolver Ocelot. As a result, countless variations of Metal Gears have sprung up in every corner of the globe, making the weapon an increasingly common component of the armed forces of nuclear powers. In the midst of all of this, Solid Snake, now a member of the anti-Metal Gear group ‘Philanthropy,’ has learned that a new prototype Metal Gear has been developed by the U.S. Marines and is being transported in secret to an unknown destination. To learn more about this new machine, Snake must infiltrate the transport, disguised as a tanker, as it makes its way down the Hudson River. Just as Snake is about to begin his mission, however, the ship is seized by a mysterious and well-armed group bent on stealing the new Metal Gear for their own, nefarious purposes

Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Vita

29. “Gran Turismo”


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29. “Gran Turismo”

(Sony)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.6/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Welcome to the most advanced racing game ever created! Encounter exhilarating high-speed racing in 11 stunning environments. Feel handling agility and throttle response so convincing, the car seems to be an extension of yourself. Experience the extraordinary world of ‘Gran Turismo’!”

Platform: PlayStation

28. “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker”


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28. “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker”

(Nintendo)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In this ninth entry in the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series, Link debuts on GameCube with a fun new cel-shaded look, but the game stays true to the respected heritage of the series. The classic mix of sword-swinging action, perplexing puzzles and stirring story lines remains intact, but the stunning cel-shaded graphics give the people and places of Link’s watery world a wildly artistic new look. And for the very first time, Link sails freely on the high seas. Join Link on his most epic and scenic adventure yet. Face unimaginable monsters, explore puzzling dungeons, and meet a cast of unforgettable characters as he searches for his kidnapped sister, Aryll.”

Platforms: GameCube, Wii U

27. “Half-Life”


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27. “Half-Life”

(Valve Software)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Half-Life’ combines great storytelling in the tradition of Stephen King with intense action and advanced technology to create a frighteningly realistic world where players need to think smart to survive. ‘Half-Life’ has won more than 50 Game of the Year awards from publications around the world, and was named ‘Best PC Game Ever’ in PC Gamer’s November 1999 issue.”

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 2

26. “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”


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26. “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”

(YouTube/UnrealSkyrim)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The next chapter in the ‘Elder Scrolls’ saga arrives from the Bethesda Game Studios. Skyrim reimagines the open-world fantasy epic, bringing to life a complete virtual world open for you to explore any way you choose. Play any type of character you can imagine, and do whatever you want; the legendary freedom of choice, storytelling, and adventure of ‘The Elder Scrolls’ is realized like never before. Skyrim’s new game engine brings to life a complete virtual world with rolling clouds, rugged mountains, bustling cities, lush fields, and ancient dungeons. Choose from hundreds of weapons, spells, and abilities. The new character system allows you to play any way you want and define yourself through your actions. Battle ancient dragons like you’ve never seen. As Dragonborn, learn their secrets and harness their power for yourself.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

25. “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess”


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25. “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess”

(Nintendo)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.1/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In the next chapter in the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series, Link can transform into a wolf to scour the darkened land of Hyrule. With the help of Midna, a mysterious being, you must guide Link through hordes of foul creatures and challenging bosses using new moves and a new horseback combat system. Many puzzles stand between Link and the fulfillment of his quest, so you must sharpen your wits as you hunt for weapons and items.”

Platforms: GameCube, Wii

24. “Mass Effect 2”


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24. “Mass Effect 2”

(EA)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The ‘Mass Effect’ trilogy is a science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life forms and mysterious uncharted planets. In this dark second chapter, Saren’s evil army of Geth soldiers has just been defeated, and humans, who are still struggling to make their mark on the galactic stage, are now faced with an even greater peril.”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

23. “Tekken 3”


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23. “Tekken 3”

(Namco Bandai)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.1/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “An ancient evil force has reawakened, attacking in secret and feeding on the souls of mighty warriors. To lure it out of hiding will take the greatest fighting contest the world has ever seen…Tekken 3. Some are fighting for revenge, some for honor. Ultimately, all are fighting for their lives and the fate of all mankind.”

Platforms: PlayStation, Arcade

22. “Batman: Arkham City”


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22. “Batman: Arkham City”

(Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment / Rocksteady Studios)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.7/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Developed by Rocksteady Studios, ‘Batman: Arkham City’ builds upon the intense, atmospheric foundation of ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum,’ sending players soaring into Arkham City, the new maximum security ‘home’ for all of Gotham City’s thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds. Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City, this highly anticipated sequel introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

21. “The Orange Box”


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21. “The Orange Box”

(Valve Software)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Games included in The Orange Box compilation: The original Half-Life 2 – The player again picks up the crowbar of research scientist Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. And a lot of people – people he cares about – are counting on him. ‘Half-Life 2: Episode One’ – The player reprises his role of Dr. Freeman, who must immediately face the repercussions of his actions in City 17 and the Citadel. Freeman reconnects with Alyx Vance and her robot, Dog, as they continue their support of the resistance’s battle against the Combine forces. ‘Half-Life 2: Episode Two’ — the second installment in Valve’s episodic trilogy advances the award-winning story, leading the player to new locations outside of City 17. ‘Portal’ – a pioneering type of single player action game that rewrites the rules for how players approach and manipulate their environment – much like how Half-Life 2’s Gravity Gun reinvented the way gamers interact with objects in the game. ‘Team Fortress 2’ – an all-new version of the legendary title that spawned team based multiplayer action games. The game’s daring new art style features the most advanced graphics of any Source-based game released to date.”

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

20. “Resident Evil 4”


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20. “Resident Evil 4”

(Capcom)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In ‘Resident Evil 4’ players are reacquainted with Leon S. Kennedy, Raccoon City Police Department’s idealistic rookie cop from ‘Resident Evil 2.’ It has been six years since the destruction of Raccoon City and in that time, the U.S. government has been able to destroy the nefarious Umbrella Corporation. Fast forward to 2004 and players rejoin Leon, who is now a U.S. agent with a top-secret mission. He has been tasked to look into the abduction of the President’s daughter and his investigation has led him to a mysterious location in Europe. As Leon encounters unimaginable horrors, he must find out who or what is behind everything.”

Platforms: GameCube, PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, Wii, Zeebo, iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Android, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

19. “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves”


play

(naughty_dog/Flickr)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Fortune hunter Nathan Drake returns in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, a third-person action-adventure/shooter created by award-winning developer Naughty Dog. Down on his luck, Drake is lured back into the treacherous world of thieves and mercenary treasure-seekers he had sought to leave behind. When a mysterious artifact propels Drake on an expedition to find the legendary Himalayan valley of Shambhala, he finds himself embroiled in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse against a fugitive war criminal who’s after more than just the fabled riches of the lost city. Caught in a web of deception and plunged into an increasingly deadly pursuit that tests the limits of his endurance, Drake will be forced to risk everything – but has his luck finally run out?”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

18. “GoldenEye 007”


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18. “GoldenEye 007”

(Nintendo)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.1/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “You are Bond. James Bond. You are assigned covert operations connected with the GoldenEye weapons satellite. M will brief you on your mission and objectives from London. Q Branch will support your efforts with a plentiful supply of weapons and gadgets. Moneypenny offers you light-hearted best wishes and you’re off! Your mission begins in the heavily guarded chemical warfare facility at the Byelomorye Dam in the USSR. Look and shoot in any direction as you navigate 12 interactive 3-D environments. Use stealth and force as you see fit in matters of international security. Consider the military personnel expendable. You are licensed to kill!”

Platform: Nintendo 64

17. “BioShock”


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17. “BioShock”

(YouTube/2K/AkN)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Going beyond ‘run and gun corridors,’ ‘monster-closet AIs’ and static worlds, BioShock creates a living, unique and unpredictable FPS experience. After your plane crashes into icy uncharted waters, you discover a rusted bathysphere and descend into Rapture, a city hidden beneath the sea. Constructed as an idealistic society for a hand picked group of scientists, artists and industrialists, the idealism is no more. Now the city is littered with corpses, wildly powerful guardians roam the corridors as little girls loot the dead, and genetically mutated citizens ambush you at every turn. Take control of your world by hacking mechanical devices, commandeering security turrets and crafting unique items critical to your very survival. Upgrade your weapons with ionic gels, explosives and toxins to customize them to the enemy and environment. Genetically modify your body through dozens of Plasmid Stations scattered throughout the city, empowering you with fantastic and often grotesque abilities. Explore a living world powered by Ecological A.I., where the inhabitants have interesting and consequential relationships with one another that impact your gameplay experience. Experience truly next generation graphics that vividly illustrate the forlorn art deco city, highlighted by the most detailed and realistic water effects ever developed in a video game. Make meaningful choices and mature decisions, ultimately culminating in the grand question: do you exploit the innocent survivors of Rapture…or save them?”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iOS

16. “Half-Life 2”


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16. “Half-Life 2”

(Flickr/tux404)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism and responsiveness, ‘Half-Life 2’ opens the door to a world where the player’s presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors — even the emotions — of both friends and enemies. The player again picks up the crowbar of research scientist Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. And a lot of people — people he cares about — are counting on him.”

Platforms: PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac, Linux, Android

15. “NFL 2K1”


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15. “NFL 2K1”

(Sega)

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 6.3/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In the end, NFL 2K1 is a deeper, more refined version of the original game.”

Platform: Dreamcast

14. “Halo: Combat Evolved”


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14. “Halo: Combat Evolved”

(Microsoft)

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 8.6/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Enter the mysterious world of Halo, an alien planet shaped like a ring. As mankind’s super soldier Master Chief, you must uncover the secrets of Halo and fend off the attacking Covenant. During your missions, you’ll battle on foot, in vehicles, inside, and outside with alien and human weaponry. Your objectives include attacking enemy outposts, raiding underground labs for advanced technology, rescuing fallen comrades, and sniping enemy forces. ‘Halo’ also lets you battle three other players via intense split screen combat or fight cooperatively with a friend through the single-player missions.”

Platforms: Xbox, PC, Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One

13. “Grand Theft Auto III”


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13. “Grand Theft Auto III”

(Rockstar Games)

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Players are put at the heart of their very own gangster movie, and let loose in a fully-realized 3 dimensional city with a cast of hundreds, 50 plus vehicles, ranging from sports cars to ice cream trucks and from boats to buses, 3 hours of music, including opera, reggae, house, drum and bass, pop and disco, and a huge array of street ready weapons.”

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, Mac, Android, iOS, Fire OS

12. “Metroid Prime”


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12. “Metroid Prime”

(BLSoldier00/YouTube)

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.3/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Samus returns in a new mission to unravel the mystery behind the ruined walls scattered across Tallon IV. In Metroid Prime, you’ll play the role of this bounty hunter and view the world through her visor, which displays information ranging from current energy levels to ammunition. Equipped with a Power Beam and Gravity Suit, you must shoot locked switches, solve puzzles, and eliminate enemies. It’s up to you to explore the world and recover more power-ups and weapons, which gradually open more gameplay areas.”

Platforms: GameCube, Wii

11. “Perfect Dark”


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11. “Perfect Dark”

(Rare)

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Step into the Dark… As Carrington Institute’s most promising new Agent, Joanna Dark must uncover the truth behind the dataDyne Corporation’s recent technological breakthroughs – breakthroughs which could have serious consequences for mankind.”

Platforms: Nintendo 64, Xbox 360, Xbox One

10. “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3”


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10. “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3”

(Activision)

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 7.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Challenge up to four friends in online competitions over a LAN or the Internet. Take them on in both Trick Attack and Graffiti modes.”

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation, Game Boy Color, GameCube, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, PC, Nintendo 64, Mac

9. “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”


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9. “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”

(Nintendo)

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 8.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Forget everything you know about The Legend of Zelda games. Step into a world of discovery, exploration and adventure in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a boundary-breaking new game in the acclaimed series. Travel across fields, through forests and to mountain peaks as you discover what has become of the ruined kingdom of Hyrule in this open-air adventure. Explore the wilds of Hyrule any way you like.”

Platforms: Wii U, Switch

8. “Super Mario Odyssey”


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8. “Super Mario Odyssey”

(Nintendo)

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Mario embarks on a new journey through unknown worlds, running and jumping through huge 3D worlds in the first sandbox-style Mario game since ‘Super Mario 64’ and ‘Super Mario Sunshine.’ Set sail between expansive worlds aboard an airship, and perform all-new actions, such as throwing Mario’s cap.”

Platform: Switch

7. “Grand Theft Auto V”


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7. “Grand Theft Auto V”

(Rockstar / GTA V)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 7.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Los Santos: a sprawling sun-soaked metropolis full of self-help gurus, starlets and fading celebrities, once the envy of the Western world, now struggling to stay alive in a time of economic uncertainty and cheap reality TV. Amidst the turmoil, three very unique criminals plot their own chances of survival and success: Franklin, a street hustler looking for tangible opportunities and serious money; Michael, a professional ex-con whose retirement is less rosy than he figured it would be; and Trevor, a violent dude driven by the opportunity for a cheap high and his next big score. With options at a premium, the crew risks it all in a myriad of daring and dangerous heists that could set them up for life.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC

6. “Super Mario Galaxy 2”


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6. “Super Mario Galaxy 2”

(Nintendo)

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.1/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Super Mario Galaxy 2, the sequel to the galaxy-hopping original game, includes the gravity-defying, physics-based exploration from the first game, but is loaded with entirely new galaxies and features to challenge players. On some stages, Mario can pair up with his dinosaur buddy Yoshi and use his tongue to grab items and spit them back at enemies. Players can also have fun with new items such as a drill that lets our hero tunnel through solid rock.”

Platform: Wii

5. “Super Mario Galaxy”


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5. “Super Mario Galaxy”

(Nintendo)

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The ultimate Nintendo hero is taking the ultimate step … out into space. Join Mario as he ushers in a new era of video games, defying gravity across all the planets in the galaxy. When some creature escapes into space with Princess Peach, Mario gives chase, exploring bizarre planets all across the galaxy. Mario, Peach and enemies new and old are here. Players run, jump and battle enemies as they explore all the planets in the galaxy. Since this game makes full use of all the features of the Wii Remote, players have to do all kinds of things to succeed: pressing buttons, swinging the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk, and even pointing at and dragging things with the pointer. Since he’s in space, Mario can perform mind-bending jumps unlike anything he’s done before. He’ll also have a wealth of new moves that are all based around tilting, pointing and shaking the Wii Remote. Shake, tilt and point! Mario takes advantage of all the unique aspects of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controller, unleashing new moves as players shake the controller and even point at and drag items with the pointer.”

Platform: Wii

4. “SoulCalibur”


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4. “SoulCalibur”

(Namco Bandai)

Critic score: 98/100

User score: 8.6/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “This is a tale of souls and swords, transcending the world and all its history, told for all eternity… The greatest weapons-based fighter returns, this time on Sega Dreamcast. Soul Calibur unleashes incredible graphics, fantastic fighters, and combos so amazing they’ll make your head spin!”

Platforms: Dreamcast, iOS, Arcade, Xbox 360, Xbox One

3. “Grand Theft Auto IV”


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3. “Grand Theft Auto IV”

(Rockstar Games)

Critic score: 98/100

User score: 7.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “What does the American Dream mean today? For Niko Belic, fresh off the boat from Europe. It’s the hope he can escape his past. For his cousin, Roman, it is the vision that together they can find fortune in Liberty City, gateway to the land of opportunity. As they slip into debt and are dragged into a criminal underworld by a series of shysters, thieves and sociopaths, they discover that the reality is very different from the dream in a city that worships money and status, and is heaven for those who have them an a living nightmare for those who don’t.”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

2. “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2”


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2. “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2”

(Activision)

Critic score: 98/100

User score: 7.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Hawk’s back – with new technology, new pros and new tricks! ‘THPS2,’ the legend rides on! Skate as legendary Tony Hawk or any one of 12 other pro skaters. Create your own custom skaters. Multiple play modes including 1-Player, Career and Free Skate modes, as well as 2-player modes such as Trick Attack, Graffiti Tag and Horse. Build your own custom skate parks with the real-time 3D park editor”

Platforms: PlayStation, PC, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, Mac, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, iOS, Xbox

1. “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”


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1. “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”

(Nintendo)

Critic score: 99/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “As a young boy, Link is tricked by Ganondorf, the King of the Gerudo Thieves. The evil human uses Link to gain access to the Sacred Realm, where he places his tainted hands on Triforce and transforms the beautiful Hyrulean landscape into a barren wasteland. Link is determined to fix the problems he helped to create, so with the help of Rauru he travels through time gathering the powers of the Seven Sages.”

Platforms: Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, Virtual Console (various platforms)

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[Top]

Month: December 2017

NBA player uses video games to heal from catastrophic injury

Posted on December 30, 2017  in Video Games

Gordon Hayward couldn’t get the image out of his head. Lying in bed at night, the All-Star would close his eyes and try to lull his mind to sleep, but he would see it anyway: his left foot gruesomely bent sideways, the wrong way. Most nightmares are figments of the brain’s imagination. But for Hayward, this horror story was real.

“You lay awake, you can’t fall asleep,” Hayward tells B/R Mag, looking back at the first sleepless nights following his traumatic injury in the Boston Celtics‘ season opener.

Plenty of players have suffered major injuries, but few have had it play out in gruesome fashion in front of a national audience. A total of 6.7 million people watched the Cavs-Celtics game, nearly double the audience of last season’s opener on TNT. This past year, more people have searched for Hayward in Google than any NBA player. Even LeBron.

But injuries like Hayward’s are often felt most acutely not in the bones but in the brain. Hayward opened up about that on his personal website, admitting in a Nov. 1 blog post that his “thoughts started to go to a very dark place.” This was the part of the rehab that many warned him about—the mental scarring and daily psychological struggle to keep going.

How do you get over that? For Hayward, the prescription could be found in, of all things, video games. “It helps you turn your mind off from constantly thinking about the injury,” Hayward says now.

Talk to other players who’ve been through this—Kevin Ware, Shaun Livingston and Paul George—and they’ll say the mental aspect was the cruelest part. Hayward distracts his brain and fills it with positive associations. He pings his childhood friends and Utah buddies alike, rallying them to play Destiny 2 with him late at night. And in those moments, he isn’t Gordon Hayward, the guy whose foot went sideways in front of the world.

Hayward may be onto something. Perhaps the most effective way to get over the mental wounds is to go to an alternate world. Believe it or not, the secret to rehabbing from a traumatic injury might lie in video games and virtual reality.

The Celtics are secretly trying to find out.  


The Clippers' Shaun Livingston after injuring his knee against the Bobcats in 2007.

The Clippers’ Shaun Livingston after injuring his knee against the Bobcats in 2007.Chris Pizzello/Associated Press/Associated Press

Livingston still sees it. Over a decade has gone by since a 21-year-old Livingston landed awkwardly on his left leg during a game against the Charlotte Bobcats, dislocating his kneecap and rupturing just about every tendon in the knee joint. But even after his two championship runs with the Golden State Warriors, the daily reminders won’t let him forget that image of his deformed knee.

There are uplifting reminders, to be sure. Adoring fans at arenas around the world thank him for inspiring their own rehabilitations and congratulate him on his journey into the NBA’s circle of champions. Those are the good ones.

But injuries like Hayward’s often rip open an emotional wound. Seconds after Hayward went down, Livingston’s phone inevitably blew up with the news and photos of the injury. But the Golden State guard couldn’t bring himself to watch the clip.

“I don’t watch those plays anymore,” Livingston told B/R Mag. “The eyes are the windows into the soul. It’s just a mental standpoint about not putting that stuff into your head.”

Livingston can relate to the road ahead for Hayward. Indeed, the physical pain can be torturous at times, but Livingston is quick to point out that the loneliness and emotional disconnect can be just as overwhelming.

In his case, his knee rehab forced him to be away from the Los Angeles Clippers for good; the organization let his contract run out even though it drafted him No. 4 overall. Twenty months would pass before Livingston played on an NBA court again.

“It’s like a basketball death,” Livingston says. “Life just goes on without you. Being out of sight, out of mind, that’s the hardest part. It’s the same way if you were to pass away. Life will keep on going.”

To replace the hours he spent in the gym, Livingston picked up new hobbies to occupy his mind. There was no virtual reality, no FaceTime to see loved ones in a pinch nor any video games that allowed him to interact with teammates on the road. He leaned on his family to keep him in a positive state of mind.

“The mental side is the most important side,” Livingston says. “Your thoughts, the people around you, your self-esteem, how do you feel—all the cliches and all the proverbs. If you believe you can do it, you will. Our human nature allows us to have fear, have doubt to creep in, that just comes with the territory.”

Livingston became an avid reader, starting and finishing entire books in one day to keep his mind from going to the darkness. He obsessively read about former NFL running back Willis McGahee, who went through a similarly graphic injury. Livingston visited Hollywood sets while films were being made to get away, taking advantage of his proximity to the epicenter of the film industry.

“The unfortunate part of it is the reality that [the Celtics] have got to keep playing,” Livingston says of Hayward’s situation. “The league still has games. Contracts are still in order. It’s just part of it. The sooner that you accept that reality, the easier it is to attack the rehab.”

There were days when Livingston didn’t want to get out of bed. Wanted to take the day off. But his friend Art Jones knocked on his door every morning and didn’t stop pounding until Livingston got up.

“Gordon can overcome it,” Livingston says. “He can get back to the same player he was with the right team around him—which I know he’ll have—and the right mindset. There’s definitely no stopping him. This won’t stop him. I know he’s going to get through it. But my line is open.”


Kevin Ware was watching when Hayward fell, and, like Livingston’s, Ware’s phone wouldn’t stop buzzing. He was reliving it.

“Here we go again,” Ware said to himself.

After contesting a shot during the 2013 NCAA tournament’s Elite Eight, Ware suffered a compound fracture in his leg that left his broken bone protruding through his flesh. Millions at home watched. His teammates on the court sobbed.

Louisville would go on to win the championship and ceremoniously cut down the net. Knowing Ware couldn’t climb the ladder, the team had the hoop lowered so Ware could take part. It meant the world to him.

“It was pretty cool,” Ware says. “It was a blessing being in that situation, but I’d rather be playing of course. I don’t really pride myself off of being the guy who broke his leg, the guy who couldn’t play in the national championship.”

Louisville's Kevin Ware on crutches at the NCAA Final Four.

Louisville’s Kevin Ware on crutches at the NCAA Final Four.Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

For months, Ware rehabbed his injury and fought off the mental temptations to hang it up for good. To Ware, there wasn’t a low point in rehab because “personally, every day was a low point.”

But here’s the thing. The psychological trauma wasn’t only his. Ware hadn’t fully comprehended the profound effect his injury had on his teammates until he made his return to the practice court about seven months later. The game was shockingly easy to Ware, like he somehow picked up a superpower during his rehab. Ware would drive to the basket untouched. He would run the offense with almost no ball pressure from his teammates. He seemed to operate in space much more than he ever had in a game for Louisville.

And then it hit him. Perhaps he wasn’t the only one who was traumatized by the injury. Ware realized that his teammates may be taking it easy on him.

“It was tough,” Ware says of his on-court experience with teammates. “Not just the players, the coaches too.”

Ware believes his team was soft on him, subconsciously being less physical for fear of re-injuring his leg. The same teammates and coaches who were rooting him on during his rehab suddenly felt distant to him.

“I didn’t think I deserved to be babied because I put in the hard work that they saw me do,” Ware says.

But he doesn’t blame them.

“They did a complete 180, but it’s understandable,” Ware says. “I felt kind of alone, alone from everybody.”

Needing a fresh start, Ware decided to transfer, enrolling at Georgia State in 2014 to play with R.J. Hunter, whom the Boston Celtics drafted after that season.

“It was time for me to go,” Ware says. “Definitely time for me to go.”

That decision was a homecoming of sorts for the Atlanta native. He spent more time with his mother, who helped him pull through a rehab filled with Netflix (Ware marathoned through the entire seasons of Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy).

And the hard work paid off. Ware reached the NCAA tournament again in 2015. Georgia State, a No. 14 seed, upset third-seeded Baylor in the first round. And he fulfilled his dream of playing pro ball. Now, as he suits up for Larissas Faros of the Greek Basket League, he offers a message for Hayward:  “Just look at guys like myself and Paul George who came back from the same thing. It’s doable.”


If Hayward is addicted to competition, Multiple Marble Madness is a drug he can’t quit.

It’s a game that Hayward and his longtime trainer, Jason Smeathers, invented last month to break up the mind-numbing monotony of ankle rehab. Here’s how it works: spread out 17 marbles on a towel on the floor and when the timer starts, pick up each marble with your toes and drop it into a box as quickly as possible.

The first time Hayward attempted this rehab task was the day he had his cast removed. Knowing Hayward’s insatiable need for competition, Smeathers busted out a timer on his phone. How quickly could Hayward get those 17 marbles into the box using his injured foot?

First, Hayward tried it with his right foot, the good one. Thirty-nine seconds. Smeathers wrote it down in his notepad. And with his left? That took longer, much longer. Four minutes and 57 seconds, to be exact. Hayward promised he’d shave seconds off his time every single day and vowed to get it under 30 seconds come playoff time.

Multiple Marble Madness is one of two games that Hayward has added to his daily ritual. The other? That’s called the Celtics Chair Challenge, which he plays with Celtics staffers and requires taking up to five shots from half court while sitting in a chair. To add some juice to the game, Hayward decided each shot would cost $1. The first to hit the shot wins the pot.

Gordon Hayward moments after his devastating injury.

Gordon Hayward moments after his devastating injury.AP Photo

Curious about Hayward’s new personal record in Multiple Marble Madness?

That’s 32.6 seconds. Almost 10 times as fast as his first try.

Everything is a competition in Hayward’s life. He spends one to two hours a day playing Destiny 2 as soon as his young daughters go to bed at night.

“Since I’m not allowed to compete right now with the Celtics, video games is where I can get my competition in,” Hayward says.

It’s a hobby the Celtics are eager to leverage for his health. In December, the team decided to incorporate video games into his rehab and open up competitions with his teammates and staff. They’re in the exploratory stage.

“Virtual-reality stuff,” president of basketball operations Danny Ainge says. “We’re trying to figure out a way to do some video games that can actually be of benefit to his basketball play.”

The Celtics are tight-lipped about Hayward’s video game “project,” as he and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens call it. The team signed non-disclosure agreements with a video game company and is prohibited from speaking about the particulars.

Rather than chuckle at Hayward’s hobby, Stevens embraces video games as a tool for learning. He didn’t always think that way. But five years ago, he read a book called Now You See It by Duke professor Cathy Davidson. It details how brain science and technology will transform the 21st century. After reading it, Stevens changed his entire outlook on gamers, including his 12- and eight-year-old kids who play “all day long.”

“It’s maddening, right?” Stevens says. “But there’s also great value, because they’re building skill. They’re building grit. They’re figuring out what they like to accomplish. It’s like a community.”

For Hayward, this unique kinship with Stevens, a primary reason he chose the Celtics in free agency this past summer, is paying off.

“He knows I’m passionate about it,” Hayward says of Stevens’ video game collaboration. “He’s trying to keep me distracted from just always thinking about the injury.”


Felipe Dana/Associated Press

Dr. Michael Casale wanted to help Derrick Rose.

As a Chicago native and lifelong Bulls fan, it was tough for Casale to see the former MVP struggle in his recovery from an ACL injury. This was March 2013, 10 months after Rose underwent surgery on his left knee. Reports then came out that doctors had medically cleared Rose to play with about 20 games remaining in the regular season.

But instead of returning to his team in a playoff run, Rose couldn’t get over the psychological hurdle of trusting his knee.

“I’m feeling good,” Rose told reporters after being cleared by doctors. “But if I’m still not feeling right, I don’t mind missing this year.”

Rose ended up sitting out the remaining games and watched the Bulls lose in the conference semifinals to the Miami Heat. A medically cleared player sitting out voluntarily? Fans routinely questioned Rose’s heart.

But not Casale. To Casale—a cognitive neuroscientist and chief science officer at StriVR labs, a virtual-reality training company that works with at least three NBA teams—this had nothing to do with Rose’s competitive fire or being “soft.” His brain was likely just as injured as his knee.

“It’s not a matter of hard work or wanting to succeed,” Casale says of Rose. “As a scientist, I think about how, for an MVP to back off like that, his injury must have caused so much mental trauma. The neuroscience part of me comes out and starts to think about, as far as the brain rewiring, it must be so unbelievably impactful to have that one moment change the way you think about yourself and your environment.”

Casale’s job with StriVR is to think about these problems and try to come up with workable solutions for teams. He has studied and explored ways that virtual reality can alleviate symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and similar afflictions. Rather than suppressing traumatic experiences, new research shows that revisiting or “provoking” those moments can help alleviate PTSD symptoms and behavior.

Virtual reality has already hit the NBA. Last season, StriVR worked with athletes such as Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond and Washington Wizards center Ian Mahinmi to improve free-throw shooting simply by having them watch themselves make free throws in VR.

But it can help players recover from traumatic injury as well. For instance, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater used StriVR to help him experience team practices and run through the playbook when he wasn’t allowed to practice. Jeremy Bailenson is the co-founder of StriVR, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab and author of Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do. In the book, he discusses his work revitalizing Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer’s career with virtual reality.

Hayward told B/R Mag he has mixed feelings about VR. He sees the potential, but he’s more focused on video games that simulate battle and mirror team play like basketball. In its current state, VR caters to football players who can simulate standing in the pocket, but a stationary perspective isn’t as lifelike for basketball players who are almost always on the move.

“It’s not really there yet,” Hayward says of VR, “at least not competitively where you go against other players. That’s my favorite type of video game.”

Casale agrees that VR isn’t on the same playing field from a gaming standpoint as Destiny 2 or NBA 2K. But VR has shown the ability to help identify triggers that provoke stressful reactions. Coaches, therapists and trainers can then use that sensory information to better control those negative reactions. This sort of therapy is not uncommon for those with PTSD.

Can it work for NBA athletes? Casale thinks we’re not far away. For example, in VR, the Celtics could put Hayward courtside and have him experience a game while measuring his heart and sweat rate. They can see what he’s looking at when he’s getting stressed. Perhaps it’s when he sees a stretcher? Or maybe every time a player launches into the air during a layup? Or maybe it’s a certain sound that creates anxiety?

The NBA is still searching for answers to improving the mental side of injury recovery. In late November, Rose abruptly left the Cavs for two weeks, citing frustration with injuries. In an interview with The Undefeated, Rose says he is taking a different approach than in 2013.

“I’m good,” Rose says. “A lot of people think I’m depressed because of what I’m going through. It’s the total opposite. I learned from my mistakes three or four years ago when I put myself into a shell.”

LeBron James isn’t taking the psychological aspect lightly.

“We want him to be as great as he can be off the floor first before he even thinks about being on the floor,” James told reporters.


Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Gordon Hayward’s iPad holds 500 clips of Paul George playing basketball.

His trainer (Smeathers) and Boston video coordinators put them there. None of the clips come from pre-injury George. All show George’s play following his return to the NBA after a horrific incident while playing with Team USA in 2014, in which he landed on the stanchion in Las Vegas and snapped his leg. As fate would have it, Hayward witnessed that firsthand just a few feet away on the Team USA bench. Hayward watches these clips every day for positive reinforcement, a reminder that he can do this, a reassurance of what’s possible.

Hayward and George’s careers are woven together like cloth. They were drafted in the same class. Hayward went No. 9. and George No. 10 … to Hayward’s hometown Indiana Pacers. They were born fewer than two months apart and play the same position with almost identical all-around games. They even signed with the same agency coming out of college.

“Paul and I have been close since the beginning,” Hayward says. “From the get-go, there were all kinds of things that made our paths continually cross. But I never thought we’d have an injury like the ones we had. It’s kind of weird that it happened to both of us.”

So maybe it isn’t so surprising they’d find themselves lifting each other up from devastating injuries that happened in front of a national audience.

Seconds after watching Hayward’s injury, George fought off the nausea, grabbed his phone and texted his former Team USA teammate. They talked later that night on the phone. George emphasized the mental side during his constant texting to Hayward.

George’s message: It’s OK to feel down.

“With the nature of the injury, there’s going to be rough days and good days,” George says. “Some days, I felt really good and I felt like I was ready to turn that corner. And then right after that, next day, I felt like I was back at square one. There was pain in the leg again. It was hard to walk, hard to move. It felt like I wasn’t progressing like the previous day. That was the rough patch mentally.”

They’ve been in constant communication since. Hayward tries to watch George from afar. For a while, Hayward couldn’t bring himself to watch games because it hurt too much to see where he wasn’t. This hits people differently. George used to watch clips of himself on YouTube for inspiration, proof in times of doubt that he was capable of playing at a high level.

But letting go is half the battle.

“The toughest part about it and what people don’t understand is you have an expectation of where you’ve been and the level you’ve played at your whole career,” George says. “And you want to get back to that so fast, but you’ve got to be mindful that you’re coming back to a new league. New players. Different teams. Different schemes. It’s a whole different game he’s coming back to.”

Life moves on without you. All those feelings creep back up, those pangs of failure and urges to try to somehow turn back time.

“It’s tough,” George says. “You can’t play the game like you once played it. It’s a toll on us that people just don’t understand.”

So how did George get over it?

He laughs, knowing Hayward is right there with him again.

“Video games.”


Tom Haberstroh has covered the NBA full time since 2010, and joined B/R Mag after seven years with ESPN as an NBA insider and analytics expert. Haberstroh is also a co-founder of Spotlight Media Ventures and regularly hosts The Basketball Friends podcast for the Leverage The Chat multimedia network. Follow him on Twitter: @tomhaberstroh.

Click here to get B/R Mag on the go in the new B/R app for more sports storytelling worth your time, wherever you are.

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Month: December 2017

Family says son killed by police in ‘swatting’ was unarmed, didn’t play video games

Posted on December 30, 2017  in Video Games

Blue and red lights flashed outside of the McCormick Street house just after 6 p.m. on Thursday. Curious of what was going on – Andrew Finch, 28, opened the door.

“I heard my son scream, I got up and then I heard a shot,” his mother, Lisa Finch, said Friday morning.

Finch and other relatives invited reporters into their home Friday morning – more than 12 hours after Wichita police said an officer fatally shot a 28-year-old man, who was identified by family as Andrew “Andy” Finch.

“We want Andy’s side of the story to be told,” his mother said.

On Thursday, Deputy Wichita Police Chief Troy Livingston said a substation received a call that there was a hostage situation in a house in the 1000 block of West McCormick — and that someone had been shot in the head.

“That was the information we were working off of,” he said, explaining that officers went to the house ready for a hostage situation and they “got into position.”

“A male came to the front door,” Livingston said Thursday night. “As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon.”

Livingston didn’t say if the man had a weapon when he came to the door, or what caused the officer to shoot the man.

Finch said her son, a father of two young children, wasn’t armed.

As the Finch family talked to reporters, they carefully navigated their way around their foyer, and pointed out a reminder of what happened.

“There’s where he was shot,” Andrew Finch’s aunt, Lorrie Hernandez-Caballero, said, as she pointed to spots of blood on the home’s porch, and on the carpet just inside the door. “They (police) had to take the screen door as evidence.”

After she heard the shot, Finch said she walked out of her bedroom and into the kitchen. A door leading from the kitchen to the side yard was open, she said.

Related stories from The Wichita Eagle

“The police said, ‘Come out with your hands up,’” she said. “(The officer) took me, my roommate and my granddaughter, who witnessed the shooting and had to step over her dying uncle’s body.”

The family was handcuffed, taken outside and placed into separate police cruisers, she said. They were taken downtown and interviewed by Wichita police officers.

Asked if the family has talked to investigators from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Finch said they were told KBI investigators would contact them.

But they have questions now.

“What gives the cops the right to open fire?” Finch asked. “Why didn’t they give him the same warning they gave us? That cop murdered my son over a false report.”

Finch and Hernandez-Caballero said they want to see the officer – identified only as a seven-year veteran of the department – and the person who made the false report held accountable.

“The person who made the phone call took my nephew, her son, two kids’ father,” Hernandez-Caballero said. “How does it feel to be a murderer? I can’t believe people do this on purpose.”

Online gamers have said in multiple Twitter posts that the shooting was the result of a “swatting” call involving two gamers.

Andrew Finch was not involved in the online game, according to his mother and people in the gaming community.

“He doesn’t play video games,” Finch said. “He has better things to do with his time.”

Swatting is an internet hoax where someone makes a call to a police department with a false story of an ongoing crime – often with killing or hostages involved – in an attempt to draw a large number of police officers to a particular address.

Swatting has gained traction across the country with online gamers. Those who try to cause the swatting incident will use caller ID spoofing or other techniques to disguise their number as being local. Or they call local non-emergency numbers instead of 911, according to 911.gov.

On Twitter, more than a dozen people who identified themselves as being in the gaming community told The Eagle that a feud between two Call of Duty players sparked one to initiate a “swatting.”

“I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION,” said one gamer on Twitter, who others said made the swatting call. His account was suspended overnight.

According to posts on Twitter, two gamers were arguing when one threatened to target the other with a “swatting.” The person who was the target of the swatting gave the other gamer a false address, which sent police to Finch’s home instead of his own, according to Twitter posts.

Andrew Finch leaves behind two children – ages 2 and 7. He is from Virginia and the family moved to Wichita in the mid-1990s.

“He was very kind and caring,” Finch said. “He was in gifted classes. He was very artistic. He would draw any picture … He would do anything for his family.”

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Month: December 2017

Drawfee and Crunchyroll Announce the Public Release of Five New Video Games Created During 48-Hour Game Jam Livestream

Posted on December 30, 2017  in Video Games

New Titles From Renowned Video Game Developer Teddy Dief And More Are Now Available For Free Download On PC

New York, NY (PRWEB) December 29, 2017

Drawfee, the interactive comedy drawing series where your favorite nerd culture franchises transform into bizarre works of art, today announced the public release of the five video games created at the first-ever Drawfee Game Jam presented by Crunchyroll and livestreamed on Drawfee’s Facebook Watch page: ZODIAC MALL BALL; KISS PLANET; WIGGLE JIGGLE BLOCKS; FINAL RETIREMENT SAGA; and KICKIN’ IT: SHOES YOUR DESTINY. These five games are now available for free download on PC at drawfee.com/gamejam.

Real-time participation from the Game Jam livestream community on Facebook Watch played a pivotal role in each game’s development, as viewers were able to suggest details such as game titles and gameplay features for the final version. Fans can watch Drawfee’s Game Jam Live on Facebook Watch by visiting https://www.facebook.com/drawfee.

Held from December 15 – December 17 in New York City, The Drawfee Game Jam presented by Crunchyroll brought together more than a dozen video game developers — including Teddy Dief (creator of Hyper Light Drifter), Jolie Menzel (lead narrative designer, Ubisoft SF), Jarryd Huntley (developer of the upcoming Art Club Challenge), Jerry Belich (freelance video game developer and professor), Jo Fu (Pillow Fight Games), and more — who broke into five teams to develop five outlandishly creative video games based solely on bizarre Drawfee illustrations. Developers Rami Ismail (creator of LUFTRAUSERS) and Adriel Wallick (freelance video game developer and organizer of Train Jam) served as advisors for the Game Jam and were on site spreading positive vibes and meeting with each of the teams during development.

After 48-hours of development, the final products were presented to fans on Drawfee’s Facebook Watch page on Sunday, December 17:

-ZODIAC MALL BALL (developed by ‘The World Trees’ – Teddy Dief, Jenny Jiao Hsia, and Ethan Redd, with music by Akash Thakkar) — A four-player rollerskating brawler, where players compete to collect coins that they can use to appease the Zodiac Mall Gods and win their favor, and also collect cool pins

-KISS PLANET (developed by ‘Lip Service Games’ – Jo Fu and Conrad Kreyling, with music by Akash Thakkar) — You play as a KISS SHIP, which needs to collect the correct emojis to flirt with a KISS PRINCE and give them the ultimate kiss, making them the KISS KING (or Dukems of Smoochems)

-WIGGLE JIGGLE BLOCKS (developed by ‘Play Nice’ – Jarryd Huntley, Steph Frank, and Zac Pierce, with music by Akash Thakkar) — You’re an older sibling who wants to stack blocks of gelatin in peace – but your annoying little brother keeps coming around to knock over your wiggling blocks. If your stress meter gets too high, you’ll fight with him and your mother will enter and tell the two of you to “play nice.” (that’s GAME OVER)

-FINAL RETIREMENT SAGA (developed by ‘Wub Dub Cubs Games’ – Jerry Belich, Carol Mertz, and Gabrielle Hoggett, with music by Akash Thakkar) — You are Brandon, a chameleon janitor at a retirement home for animals, and you must collect all of the Wub Dub Cups (cups of gelatin that are highly sought after in the retirement home)

-KICKIN’ IT: SHOES YOUR DESTINY (developed by ‘Highly Visible Ninjas’ – Jolie Menzel, Johnny Oh, and Akshay Balakrishnan, with music by Akash Thakkar) — You have three feet, which you must outfit in a variety of shoes, to combat the evil feet of a shoe factory. Defeat all of the feet, collect new shoes, and take over the factory

“The Drawfee Game Jam feels like the perfect culmination of what Drawfee is all about,” said Nathan Yaffe, co-host and artist at Drawfee. “Normally, we’re taking silly ideas and making silly drawings, but the Game Jam allowed artists of all stripes to collaborate on outrageously hilarious ideas to create final works that are so much bigger than anything we’ve ever done. Programmers, musicians, and artists all working together – complementing each others’ talents – to create some unbelievably hysterical and playable games.”

Drawfee releases new videos each week on YouTube.com/drawfee hosted by co-hosts / artists Nathan Yaffe, Caldwell Tanner, Julia Lepetit, and more.

About Drawfee

Drawfee is an interactive comedy drawing series where your favorite nerd culture franchises and childhood memories transform into bizarre works of art. On each episode, creators Caldwell and Nathan are joined by their witty co-illustrators to draw up fresh takes on an eclectic array of “dumb ideas” along with outlandish knockoff characters from fan-favorite franchises including Pokémon, Rick and Morty, Overwatch, Game of Thrones, and more. Simply put, it’s Bob Ross with improvisational comedy. Drawfee is brought to you by CollegeHumor, an IAC company.

About Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll is the world’s largest destination for anime and manga, boasting a global community of more than 25 million registered users and over 1 million subscribers. Fans connect through the most complete anime library including “Naruto Shippuden,” “Attack on Titan,” and “Dragon Ball Super,” events such as Crunchyroll Movie Nights, Crunchyroll News, and can purchase related merchandise through its online store. Through its app on game consoles, set-top boxes, mobile devices and more, Crunchyroll delivers content from leading media producers directly to viewers translated professionally in multiple languages. The service is available for free or through a premium offering that allows users to watch ad-free with access to simulcasts—top series available immediately after Japanese broadcast.

Fans can also view Crunchyroll on VRV, an audience-focused aggregation platform featuring premium SVOD channels and a curated house channel, VRV Select.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/12/prweb15046254.htm

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Month: December 2017

Kenny Omega & Xavier Woods Reveal Their Top 10 Video Games of 2017

Posted on December 30, 2017  in Video Games

– Kenny Omega & Xavier Woods recently spoke with giantbomb.com, and shared their top 10 video games of 2017…

Kenny Omega:
#10 The Mummy Demastered
#9 Sonic Mania
#8 NieR: Automata
#7 Blaster Master Zero
#6 Nioh
#5 2064: Read Only Memories
#4 Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
#3 Persona 5
#2 Super Mario Odyssey
#1 Resident Evil 7

Xavier Woods:
#10 For Honor
#9 NieR: Automata
#8 Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
#7 Injustice 2
#6 Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment
#5 Fire Emblem Warriors
#4 Sonic Mania
#3 South Park: The Fractured but Whole
#2 Battle Chef Brigade
#1 Tekken 7

– Here is AJ Styles, hyping his next title defense on Saturday against Jinder Mahal and John Cena…

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Month: December 2017

Here Are All The Video Games Releasing In January (2018)

Posted on December 30, 2017  in Video Games


Credit: Capcom

Monster Hunter World tops January’s list of video game releases.

The first month of 2018 is actually a really great time to catch up on games you missed or haven’t finished from 2017 (or 2016!) There just isn’t all that much coming out in January, at least not until the end of the month.

In fact, only two games are releasing for the Xbox One the entire month. That’s fewer than the Nintendo Switch (4) and just one more than the 3DS. PS4 will see 9 new releases including a VR game and a Vita cross-play game.

PC gamers will get several new releases, though there will likely be dozens of other Steam releases that aren’t included on this list. It’s virtually impossible to keep up with PC releases in any meaningful way given the flood of new games that come out each month on Steam.

In any case, here’s what’s coming in January 2018:

  • The Escapists 2 – (Nintendo Switch) – Jan 11
  • Street Fighter V Arcade Edition – (PC, PS4) – Jan 16
  • Gintama Rumble – (PS4) – Jan 18
  • World to the West – (Nintendo Switch) – Jan 18
  • Death Mark – (Switch, PS4) – Jan 19
  • Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory (PS4, Vita) – Jan 19
  • Kirby Battle Royale – (3DS) – Jan 19
  • Lost Sphear – (PC, Switch, PS4) – Jan 23
  • The Inpatient – (PSVR) – Jan 23
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ – (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – Jan 26
  • Monster Hunter: World – (PS4, Xbox One) – Jan 26
  • Railway Empire – (PC) – Jan 26
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy NT – (PS4) – Jan 30

What I’m Looking Forward To

Well, first off I’m looking forward to finishing some games I didn’t finish in 2017—there were just too many excellent, lengthy titles to finish them all. Beyond that, however…


Credit: Capcom

Street Fighter V Arcade Edition

Street Fighter V Arcade Edition

I mean, sure, it’s just a re-release of a game we’ve already played but I am at the very least curious to see what’s improved this time around. The UI is getting an overhaul. Arcade Mode is (finally) included, and a bunch of characters that weren’t in the original game at launch will also make an appearance. I’m not sure if that’s enough to justify buying the game again, but it will certainly be a less bare-bones edition. That’s something.

The Escapists 2

Not a ton has changed between the original and its sequel, but the basic premise of breaking out of prison in clever ways remains a very cool one and should be a great fit for the Nintendo Switch.


Credit: Rain Games

World to the West

World To The West

Another game that’s already available on Steam, World to the West is one I haven’t yet tried but looks quite lovely and gets great Steam user reviews. It’s an action-adventure game and a 3D follow-up to the 2D side-scrolling indie hit Teslagrad. I feel like buying and playing both these games on Steam right now, but it also looks like a perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch.

Lost Sphear

From the makers of the popular JRPG I Am Setsuna, Lost Sphear has been hailed as a modern-day Chrono Trigger. It didn’t sell particularly well in Japan, but it looks quite beautiful and fun for fans of old-school Final Fantasy games and other retro JRPGs.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

A proper fighting game for Dragon Ball sounds pretty fun, though there sure are a lot of fighting games out these days. Still, for fans of the series this should be a nice chance to get your brawl on. Besides, the 2.5D 3vs3 fighter should be a nice change of pace.

Monster Hunter World


Credit: Capcom

Monster Hunter World

Easily the biggest release of the month, Monster Hunter World sounds pretty great (though I missed the beta.) Giant, seamless maps. 4-player online co-op. No regional barriers to playing online with friends the world over. And, of course, the series’ best-looking graphics to-date. Could a new generation of Monster Hunters be born? I’m certainly excited to play. I think the last game in this series that I played was Monster Hunter 3 on the Wii (well, on the Wii U, but it’s a Wii game.)

That’s all folks!

If there’s something I missed, let me know on Twitter or Facebook. There’s always some gem or other slipping through the cracks that deserve to be added.

What games are you looking for in January? What games do you still need to catch up on from 2017?

Further Reading:

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