Mar 31, 2012
Alongside thousands of used cars, Craigslist last week sold this impressive, 1/3rd-scale TIE Fighter. It's probably doing something boring right now, like sitting in someone's garage. So Kotaku's smart 'Shoppers stepped in to give it a more exciting epilogue. We've got 20 winners inside, including SirNinja!
GiantBoyDetective (9), who is, like, a teacher or something, kicked off a huge grammar debate and widespread fretting over the future of our nation's youth with his entry.
dabeezkneez84 (6) gets on the board with a Twisted Metal reference. JP7010's (11)TIE Fighter cover looks much like the spacecraft's representation in the mid-1990s game. George Clooney (8), you are awesome and that is all. Angryrider (1) dooms me to the horror of Unicron, while m3rcer says "Arise, Rodimus Prime." He then passes on the Matrix to dead-cmos-battery (7).
Brandon0151 (4) comes up with an alternate skin for the Lamborghini Batman. What the fuck, I'll give breadtruck (5) the Asshole Dog incumbency award.
Esteemed Kotaku founder Brian Crecente and I worked with someone who stared at our crotches while we worked. sticktoit360 (19) lets everyone know what that might feel like. arniejolt (2) is particularly clever, and timely.
Overall winner> SirNinja's Starmie (18) homage was a huge fan favorite. Majornougat (15) lowballs his effort but the Sword of Omens gives me laughs beyond laughs every time. But it is not even close for the overall No. 1. You know how near and dear to my heart toilet humor is and J7's (10) TIE Fighter urinals are a metaphor for ... anything you choose. I can't look at that and not laugh every single time.
Thanks again, everyone. We'll be back tomorrow with another challenge.
Serpent of Fire
A couple weeks back, Markus "Notch" Persson said he wanted to explore the possibility of a space-trading Firefly-inspired sandbox game akin to Firefly. It now appears that was a huge put-on.
For April Fools' Day, Mojang has launched the hoax website Mars Effect. "After playing around with names like "Elight", "Wind Commander", and "Steve Online", we finally settled on the very catchy name "Mars Effect," Notch notes. There's no teaser trailer yet, but it has a feature set that sounds reasonable until you get about midway down to "abandoned ships full of loot" followed by "waist-high walls."
Let's hope he gets the ending right.
Mars Effect ["Official" Site]
The American Indian name for the hero of Assassin's Creed III is "Ratohnhaké:ton." Somehow, that Anglicizes to "Connor Kenway." His last name came to light this week, and it's there on Ubisoft's official site. So there you go: La'Ahad (Altaïr), Auditore (Ezio) and now ... Kenway.
Sounds like an appliance to me, though I realize that the recognizable brand of refrigerator is Kenmore, not Kenway. So here's what Google churned up on a search for that word.
• First listing: A janitorial supply and services company based in Louisville, Kentucky.
• Third listing: A maker of drain-cleaning equipment. Do we sense a theme?
• Eighth listing: The English former cricketer Derek Kenway. According to his bio on Wikipedia, he is currently a roofer.
• 15th listing: The aforementioned Connor Kenway.
There you have it: Kenway—your trusted name in home maintenance, and battling centuries-long global conspiracies. And counter-kills.
You'll be able to find the list here for reference, or in the "Kotaku's favorites" channel in the Indie Game section of Xbox Live's Games Marketplace.
Robofish (80 MS points): Robofish is a twin-stick shoot-'em-up in which you control a fish who shoots other sea creatures with lasers. The graphical style is bright and colorful, with neon explosions frequently flashing across the screen. the game also comes with a weapon customizer. You can create your own "weapon" for your little robotic fish to use in-game, choosing what direction you want it to fire in, what color the projectiles are, how they dance around the screen, and more. There's also a store where you can spend the "pearls" you earn in-game to buy skins, and more ways to customize your weapon. The level of customization put into Robofish is staggering, and gives this little indie-gem some real staying power.
Astral (80 MS Points): Astral is a strategy-driven ambient game. In Astral, you start with one planet. You can send your planet's satellites to other planets to capture them, and they, in turn, will start producing more satellites, which you can then use to capture more planets. Once you capture all the planets on the map, you win, and the level ends. There is also an opposing team (sometimes two!) that is vying for dominance of the universe, so you must capture their planets while protecting your own. Astral can be extremely frustrating, but as infuriating as it might be, the ambient music and visual style are very soothing.
Craftimals: Build to the Sun (80 MS Points): Craftimals is a part building game, part 2D platformer, the goal of which is to build your way up to the sun. As you get to certain heights, you unlock new features such as different colored blocks or hats for your animal character. The game is somewhat monotonous and tedious, but in that Minecraft-ian satisfying kind of way. Craftimals also has 2-player split-screen, so you and a friend can pool your building efforts. Why does continuously building higher and higher result in fun? I couldn't tell you, but I had a really hard time prying myself away from this game.
Redshift (80 MS Points): Redshift is a neat little shoot-em-up that looks like it could have been at home on the Virtualboy. Everything here is standard shmup protocol - tons of enemies trying to destroy your ship and bullets flying all over the place. There is one special weapon that the player has at their disposal, however. You can slow down time, making it easier to dodge the barrage of projectiles that will inevitably be coming your way.
Attanck!3 (80 MS Points): In Attanck!3, the player controls a tank made of mock-ASCII art. In fact, everything is in the game is seemingly made entirely out of text characters. Controlling the tank is tricky - the left stick controls the left tread and the right stick controls the right one. If you only move one tread forward, rather than having the tank turn in circles, the entire stage rotates. This is disorienting at first, but mastery of tank-control is essential to succeeding at this game, especially in the later levels. Attanck!3 provides a fairly hardcore experience for its price tag.
Retro Arcade Adventure (80 MS Points): If you were to streamline Smash TV and add some elements of high fantasy, you would get Retro Arcade Adventure. The idea is simple - a bunch of enemies flood the screen and the player has to clear 'em out, utilizing power ups and the hero's trusty sword. The cheeky wizard who acts as the hero's guide throws around Zelda references like it's nobody's business. There's not a whole lot of depth here, but the game is fast-paced and fun, and well worth the one dollar.
Mar 31, 2012
Have you heard that video is a big thing over at Gawker Media? It's true, we watch and post a lot of videos each week. Here are some of the best videos of week, culled from an array of Gawker Media sites.
Dude in the video above wasn't happy about being picked up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for being intoxicated. The best excuse he can muster is something about "brotherhood of men on the planet earth" before he segues right into singing Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." In its entirety. He even provides the instrumental interlude. There's nothing clever to add here. This performance can't be topped. View »
Alicia Silverstone maintains a GOOP-like lifestyle website called The Kind Life, meant to promote "living your healthiest and happiest life to the fullest, while taking care of mama Earth at the same time!" Fantastic. Well today she posted the following treasure accompanied by the above video. View »
This is the first of seven anti-distracted driving ads the California Office of Traffic Safety will roll out on TV this week, reports the Sacramento Bee. They're all filled with zombies. View »
What if Downton Abbey were not a grand English estate but instead a run-down Arby's franchise? Thankfully, we don't have to imagine what that would look like because we have the delightful Downton Arby's to show us. There are many great lines ("Sybil, put down those curly fries this instant!") and funny moments, but the condiment-loving Lady Edith very nearly steals the show. View »
James Cameron went down to the deepest pit of hell and came back unscathed. It was an amazing trip. He touched down on the Challenger Deep, exploring for three hours. "It's an alien world," he said. These are the first images. View »
HBO has released two amazing featurettes for Sunday's Game of Thrones premiere that showcase about 15 minutes of new footage, plus a collection of interviews from all the actors playing new characters. And if last year's tangled web of manipulation and lies were any indicator of this upcoming season's fantasy politicking, you'd better get to know these faces fast before they wind up on a spike. View »
In the above video, Irrational Games introduces the Siren-a creepy baddie who is able to raise the dead. View »
Fern the Great Dane puppy really seems to be enjoying her long, lazy slide out of the chair, and why should she use her legs when she can take an awkward swim over to her owner? It's a thing of beauty. View »
Two days ago, a representative for GOP Congressional candidate Matt Doheny swore that photos of him kissing campaign consultant Monica Notzon were totally innocent. The photos were "out of context," Monica protested. View »
Remember that picture of $150 million in Ferraris on a ferry heading to the Amelia Island Councours d'Elegance? Now you can see and hear those GTOs rumble through the show and roar down public roads, all shot by the same photographer. View »
The United States will not field a men's soccer team at the London Olympics after this stoppage-time goal by El Salvador's Jaime Enrique Alas forced a 3-3 draw in the CONCACAF U-23 qualifying tournament. View »
GoldenEye, for the Nintendo 64, is one of the all-time classics of gaming. Recently, a fan uncovered an Easter egg Rare had buried in GoldenEye's code: a fully functional emlulator for the ZX Spectrum system, complete with ten games. View »
While the NCAA tournament isn't yet finished-the Final Four starts Saturday, after all-the 64 games played thus far have been short on the drama (one overtime game, zero buzzer-beaters) but long on the blunders. While a good number of these mistakes can be blamed on the officials, players (and fans) have accounted for plenty of bloopers. So here's your montage, complete with a chiptune version of "One Shining Moment" that's at least as good as Jennifer Hudson's. View »
Check out this video of an unbelievably wasted girl tries to have sex with a tree after getting in a fight with it, at Ultra Music Festival 2012, as a crowd gathers in a circle chanting "fuck the tree." Download our free drugs sex tree fight Megaupload Ultra rave ecstasy sex. Free Ultra 2012 download fuck the tree rave music Skrillex Bieber. Drugs Tree. View »
Bridges are like car-sized ramps: you want to jump your car over them, but how fast is too fast? Using rally cars as test subjects, Spookworks Rally Team set out to find the goldilocks speed for making the perfect bridge launch. View »
Last night's Suns-Spurs game got off to a unique start, as Steve Nash fell to the floor after being checked by a San Antonio defender, looked up at the referee to complain about the no-call, and simultaneously passed the ball to Marcin Gortat, who attempted a three-pointer. If there's any play that might represent Nash's career in a nutshell, it might be this one. View »
This photo-morph video of Lindsay Lohan's ever-changing mien should serve as a cautionary tale to all would-be child actors and their exploitative parents: life happens pretty fast in show business. It seems as if Lindsay has gone through every conceivable transformation over her 22-year career. View »
A decade and a half after Pokémon first launched, we finally see the one-minute summary that this series deserves. View »
As John Edwards learned the hard way, the camera is always on. It was certainly on in the bowels of Fox News' dark tower last November as failed presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's icy wife-bot Callista prepared him for an interview with Bill O'Reilly. She brushed him like a horse, sprayed him like Cher, and locked down his hair with dead-eyed precision. Then O'Reilly said he looked like Justin Bieber. Burn. View »
Mar 31, 2012
PC players of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim got another crash-resolving update, an incremental uptick from patch 1.5. Xbox 360 and, more importantly, PlayStation 3 gamers? They remain stuck at 1.4, a patch now going on two months old, and for the PS3, still subject to a "bad memory situation," which means a crash.
That patch has been submitted to Microsoft and Sony, so, insert snark about PSN and Xbox Live updates here. But Bethesda reported that submission 10 days ago, so we're still twiddling our thumbs while Sony and Microsoft pass judgment. And while the PC patch notes say this will resolve a crash on "loading certain plugins" that is PC only. We'll have to wait to see what this patch specifically addresses for the consoles. The PC patch notes are here.
At the DICE Summit in February, Bethesda's lead designer, Todd Howard, tried to explain why Skyrim on the PS3 was so problematic. He got into a bit of a jam when he seemed to acknowledge that developers knew gamers could run into a problem in the memory and tried to adjust the code to prevent it, but were, evidently, unsuccessful. Bethesda later clarified to Kotaku that they thought they took care of that problem before the game shipped. It still persists, though Bethesda says it affects "a small percentage" of users.
Incremental PC Update Live on Steam [Bethesda Blog]
Hey, are you a sports fan on the go? Who has time these days to watch the big game, or bother with messy DVR, or boring highlight shows? With Biff Tannen's Sports Almanac, we'll give you the weekend's biggest matchups before they happen, thanks to these highly accurate peer-reviewed scientific simulations of sports video gaming's finest titles.
Note: Information presented for entertainment purposes only. If you consult video games for sports betting advice, seek help.
OK, shrimps. So I didn't do so hot on the main tournament. In fact I got none of the Final Eight right and went something like 23-37. Turns out, I was readin' the almanac from 2102, not 2012. My mistake. Then, there was a power outage last week and I couldn't fire up the Mr. Fusion to go get the correct edition until now. But here I've got the results from today's games and Monday's so you can go bet everything you have with confidence, assuming you didn't lose it two weeks ago.
Simulated using College Hoops 2K8
Rosters by 2K Share/NATIVE AMERICAN
• Louisville 75, Kentucky 59 (Saturday)—Kentucky fans have spent all week acting like the heavily favored Wildcats have already won this game. Well, this game isn't played on paper. It's played on an Xbox 360, dammit, and Biff Tannen's Sports Almanac calls the Cardinals a winner. Kentucky has an absolutely horrid day, shooting 20 of 63 and committing 15 turnovers. Louisville center Gorgui Dieng gets into foul trouble early and plays just 16 minutes but the Wildcats, in one of the greatest chokes ever, fail to capitalize on his absence. Louisville freshman Chane Behanan supplies 17 points and 10 rebounds to deny John Calipari a second vacated appearance in the NCAA final.
• Ohio State 71, Kansas 65 (Saturday)—The duel between forwards Thomas Robinson of Kansas and Jared Sullinger of Ohio State lives up to the hype, and Sullinger gets the better of it, tallying 19 points and 12 rebounds to Robinson's 15 and 8. The Buckeyes' Aaron Craft and the Jayhawks' Tyshawn Taylor also are a pairing to watch, with Craft getting the better of the deal in a 12-point, eight assist evening. Ohio State shoots just under 50 percent for the game and fends off a late KU rally to advance to Monday. A key to the game: Kansas center Jeff Withey is neutralized, tallying just four points and grabbing seven rebounds, but going to the free throw line only three times.
• Ohio State 82, Louisville 72 (OT) (Monday)—Questionable officiating is the story of regulation time as Craft gets into trouble with stupid, ticky-tack fouls, and completely fouls out midway through the second half. That allows Louisville to stage a comeback and tie the game, sending it to overtime. But the deeper Buckeyes are too much for the Cardinals, and Louisville misses the contribution of both Behanan and Peyton Siva. Behanan, so brilliant two nights before, ends up with six points on 2-for-15 shooting. Siva dishes seven assists but supplies little scoring. In the end, it's another outstanding performance from tournament MOP Sullinger, who adds another 19 and 8 rebounds. Shooting guard William Buford plays a vital role, dishing 7 assists in Craft's absence and tallying another 13 points. [Ohio State box] [Louisville box]
Biff's Record: 23-37 last two weeks (NCAA Tournament picks), 46-61 lifetime. I spilled beer all over when that car smashed into me. Who's gonna pay my cleaning bill?
It sounds like the folks behind the film adaptation of arcade classic Rampage are really serious about making it happen. The Hollywood Reporter calls it "a priority for New Line Cinema" and says they're looking to make "an Independence Day-style picture on a smart budget."
That means lots of Rampage's signature trait: Buildings smashed and imploding and destruction and people running and giant lizards eating a flamethrower and suffering nasty heartburn. To sew all that together, New Line has tapped newcomer Ryan Engle to write the screenplay. He has credits on "A Killing on Carnival Row" and wrote "On a Clear Day," which landed him his first big deal.
Again, we're talking people mutating into monsters, stomping tanks and eating people and electrocuting themselves in neon signs. It's hard to screw this up. I just want to see Ralph doing that power move where he starts at the top of a skyscraper and punches his way down, maybe give that wan, helpless look as the building crumbles and he's forgotten to jump to the next one.
New Line Hires Relative Newcomer to Pen 'Rampage' Movie (Exclusive) [The Hollywood Reporter]
The undisputed Internet-age leader in April Fool's hoaxes gets a one-day head start on its latest gag—a brilliant announcement video for "Google Maps 8-Bit," a port of the popular, well, map service to the Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicon. The best part? It's an homage to Dragon Quest.
Not only is the video a first rate production—including a period-perfect 1980s Japanese family, with original Famicom and controllers (that they're happy to show off.) The 'game' they concocted also appears to be a tribute to Dragon Quest judging by the title screen (according to commenter OtakuMan24).
And yes, there is the requisite blowing-on of cartridges.
Being Google, there is a second stage to this gag. Google Maps itself has been re-skinned in 8-bit form. Just go to Maps and click on the "quest" button in the upper right corner of the map. Now you can see what your hometown looks like if it was in The Legend of Zelda. Drag the little warrior character to your route and it brings up a pixelated, primary color street view, too.
Update: Reader GamePark32 notices that Square Enix is listed in the copyright notice in the lower right corner of the quest mode on Google Maps, meaning this is indeed an overt tribute to Dragon Quest.
[h/t to Vitor for spotting this!]
What's happened in the business of video games this past week ...
QUOTE | "Dropping a nuclear bomb on GameStop."—Leading games industry analysts react to the rumor that the next PlayStation could block used titles, which could prompt GameStop to avoid stocking it.
QUOTE | "Engagement with fans doesn't have to mean letting the lunatics run the asylum."—Rob Fahey, former editor of GamesIndustry.biz, talking about why BioWare and other creators shouldn't let fans pressure them into changing creative decisions.
QUOTE | "I think we're seeing a lot more experimental game design happening now."—Will Wright, legendary game designer, talking about game design and what's coming up next in an exclusive interview.
STAT | 1.6 – Average number of Apple devices in American households, according to a survey by CNBC.
QUOTE | "I think mobile is starting to make its move to take over the world."—Brian Reynolds, Chief Game Designer at Zynga, talking about game design and what the next big thing is for the games industry.
QUOTE | "People thought we were crazy."—Neil Young, CEO of ngmoco, on how the world responded when the mobile game maker made all their games free-to-play.
QUOTE | "Movies, the Cohen brothers, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick... I steal from the best!"—Ken Levine, President of Irrational Games, joking about where he finds his inspiration for designing games.
STAT | 9%—Share of revenue from games using Flash Player's premium features that Adobe is looking for, which is making some developers angry.
QUOTE | "Sony would be taking away consumer choice."—James Brightman, US Editor for GamesIndustry International, talking about Sony's rumored plan to make it impossible to play used games on the PlayStation 4 'Orbis'.
STAT | 32%—Amount China's online games market grew in 2011 to reach $6.6 billion, according to a study by Pearl Research.
QUOTE | "There's not going to be an industry."—Denis Dyack, President of Silicon Knights, talking about how the growth of used game sales could destroy the game industry.
QUOTE | "I don't think retail is going away. But I think retail will evolve."— Sean Spector, co-founder of Gamefly video rentals, talking about how there's still a spot for stores despite the growth of digital distribution.
QUOTE | "Shifting a creative culture is like teaching a company to quit smoking."—Tommy Francois, Ubisoft director of IP development, talking about how tough it is to buy a company and integrate into your creative team.
STAT | 2100—Number of game retail jobs lost at UK retailer GAME Group after they shut down 277 stores and entered administration, the UK equivalent of bankruptcy.
This Week in the Business courtesy of GamesIndustry International
(Image from Shutterstock)