Suspects of the Old RepublicWe had an open-ended theme last week and, I'll take the rap, it kinda thudded. So we're going back to bread-and-butter subjects with source images, and mugshots have been reliable comedy inspiration in the past. The tale of a guy actually named Obiwan Kenobi getting arrested in California and charged with hit-and-run, is too good to pass up.

We can go a couple of ways here; either use this mugshot on a recognizable Star Wars scene (or video game screenshot), or use any image of Kenobi himself getting into ... Imperial entanglements. After that, I leave it to you. You're all very creative people.

Source Image: Obiwan Kenobi, 37, of Roseville, Calif.

You know the rules: The 20 best will get rounded up and published at the end of next Saturday. Meantime, I and the rest of the starred commentariat will approve and promote as many as we can so folks can see them and pass judgment.

This is your no-frills step-by-step procedure to participation in the Kotaku 'Shop Contest.

1. Create your 'Shop.
2. Upload it to a free image hosting service. I suggest imgur. It's stupid simple. No account is necessary.
3. This is very important: You must use the URL of the image itself. In imgur, this is the second URL it gives you after you upload the image. It's under "Direct Link (email & IM)"
4. At the beginning of the comments roll, click "Start a New Thread"
5. To the right of your name, select "Image."
6. Paste the imgur URL in the image URL field. It's the field that says "Image URL."
7. You can add editorial commentary if you want, but then just hit submit and your image will load. If it doesn't, paste the image URL as a comment.
8. This is important: Keep your image size under 1 MB. It will not upload to comments if it is over that size. What's more, we're getting reports that if your 'Shop is more than 1000px tall (vertical), it won't upload. If you're getting the broken-image icon, try resizing to a smaller dimension.

Now, Gentlemen, start your 'shopping!


Weekend Talk Amongst YourselvesThe Kentucky Derby yesterday freaked me out because I realized it was already the first Saturday in May. Which means Mother's Day is next Sunday, and I don't have a clue for a gift to give. Do you? Good morning and welcome to Weekend Talk Amongst Yourselves, the official Kotaku forum for any games-related subject.

Today's TAYpic comes courtesy of InvadingDuck. Want a piece of the TAYpic action atop this six-day-a-week post? Grab the base image here, provide a funny variation on it, and post it in the #TAYpics thread. Keep your image in a 16x9 ratio. The best ones will be featured in future installments of Talk Amongst Yourselves.


Sunday Comics: Crowded SourceWelcome to your Sunday read of the week's best in web comics. Make sure to click on the expand button in the bottom right to enlarge each comic.

Sunday Comics: Crowded SourcePenny Arcade by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik published May 4.—Read more of Penny Arcade
Sunday Comics: Crowded SourceAwkward Zombie by Katie Tiedrich published April 30.—Read more of Awkward Zombie
Sunday Comics: Crowded SourceNerf NOW!! by Josué Pereira published May 1.—Read more of Nerf NOW!!
Sunday Comics: Crowded SourceManly Guys Doing Manly Things by Kelly Turnbull published April 30.—Read more of Manly Guys Doing Manly Things
Sunday Comics: Crowded SourceBrawl In The Family by Matthew Taranto published May 4.—Read more of Brawl In The Family
Sunday Comics: Crowded SourceVirtual Shackles by Jeremy Vinar and Mike Fahmie published May 4.—Read more of Virtual Shackles
Sunday Comics: Crowded SourceAnother Videogame Webcomic by Phil Chan and Joe Dunn published April 28.—Read more of Another Videogame Webcomic
Sunday Comics: Crowded SourceActionTrip by Borislav Grabovic and Ure Paul published April 30.—Read more of ActionTrip
Sunday Comics: Crowded SourceLegacy Control by Javis Ray published May 3.—Read more of Legacy Control


Get Your GOTY: the WinnersI'll take the blame for this. We have only 10 finalists this week because my 'Shop Contest idea was so narrowly drawn, and invited many entries that didn't take a lot of effort other than just slapping text on something. I think I may have outkicked my mental coverage in trying to design a contest where the design values behind Batman: Arkham City's Game of the Year edition took over the world. Still we have 10 worthy submissions, plus overall winner xX_cringer8_Xx inside.

Leading off, I know I said I would not accept video game covers, but Harrier (4) showed a very novel concept and actual Photoshop skills, and that easily gets him into our abbreviated roundup. Very nicely done, Harrier. toolsoldier (7) conceives of a butt augur that left me cringing. Is this really how ADAM is harvested? Yeesh.

Repeat winner AttorneyAtMusic (1) comes up with some ad placement that's decidedly out of place. Panacheful (5) and Trojan (8) both had variations on a theme. For overall winner, it came down to tunel's (9) magnificent hype-man effort for a condiment and xX_cringer8_Xx's (10) brilliantly tacky memorial. I'll take the last one to my grave, it was hands down the funniest. I only hope I am remembered so well.

Thanks again, folks, I'll come up with a better idea tomorrow.

Get Your GOTY: the WinnersAttorneyAtMusic
Get Your GOTY: the WinnersblueTunic
Get Your GOTY: the WinnersGiantBoyDetective
Get Your GOTY: the WinnersHarrier
Get Your GOTY: the WinnersPanacheful
Get Your GOTY: the Winnersseivewright
Get Your GOTY: the Winnerstoolsoldier
Get Your GOTY: the WinnersTrojan211
Get Your GOTY: the Winnerstunel
Get Your GOTY: the WinnersxX_cringer8_Xx


inFamous Actor Gets Back in the Mo-Cap Suit, Tips off Battle Royale AppearanceIf Cole McGrath, the hero of inFamous, isn't in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale I'd really like to see what Sony-exclusive character pushes him out. So it's not a shocker when Cole's mo-cap actor says that he was back in a suit filming sequences recently.

In a couple of Tweets yesterday, spied by VividGamer, Eric Ladin says "Feels good to be back in the mo-cap suit! Before you ask ... no, not inFamous." Then, replying to a fan, he says "I was playing Cole." The Tweets have since been deleted.

Cole's mo-cap actor playing Cole in a game that's not inFamous actually leaves very few credible possibilities. The only one most can imagine is that he was performing fighting moves for what is being called "PBR" (PlayStation Battle Royale) That said, the game is due for a "Holiday 2012" release, so this seems a little late in the game. So we could be talking about something else altogether or ... dun dun dunnnnnn ... the dreaded DLC.

Rumor: Cole McGrath Playable in PlayStation All-Stars [VividGamer]


Maybe There will be an Avengers Video Game After AllThursday, the day before The Avengers was released in U.S. cinemas, an Ubisoft contractor registered the domain "avengersbattleforearth.com," reports the domain registry watchdog Fusible.

There is, of course, no retail adaptation of the superhero film. Those who want to play an Avengers video game must wait until Zen Studios The Avengers table set arrives for Pinball FX2 and Marvel Pinball.

Fusible notes the speculation that an Avengers game adaptation "may have been delayed, cancelled, or simply couldn't work," but a listing attached to a major console publisher could mean something is coming, whether in retail or downloadable form.

Avengers: Battle for Earth video game headed to consoles according to domain [Fusible]


Xbox Live Listing Outs the South Park RPG's Name: The Stick of TruthThough there has yet to be an announcement from developer Obsidian Entertainment or publisher THQ, the upcoming role-playing game set in the South Park continuity appears to have a name, according to an early listing on the Xbox Live Marketplace. It's "The Stick of Truth."

You can see its provisional cover art at the link on Xbox Live. That release date (today) is quite erroneous.

Rumor: Obsidian's South Park RPG Has A New Name [Game Informer]


A Kotaku Reader has Big Plans, and Sees a Big Future, for the 'Sixth Grade MMO' He BuiltIf you ever complained about homework increasing as the days got longer and the weather warmer, well, the tables have been turned. Ben Bertoli is up late doing a lot of it himself as the school year ends.

Bertoli, affectionately known here as the commenter GiantBoyDetective, revealed ClassRealm—described as a "sixth-grade MMO"—to the general public through Kotaku a couple of months ago. A teacher in Indiana and a great lover of video games, Bertoli developed this gamification system in order to motivate his students to read more, participate in discussions more, study more and, well, learn more. By all accounts, it's been a big hit.

"My kids, they're the best promoters," Bertoli told me. "They're going around and telling other students how great it is. In my classroom, other kids come in from other classes for math and science, and they see all the ClassRealm stuff on my wall and they want to do it. Other teachers also have been hugely supportive; they want to do it."

Moreover, since his Kotaku article "I've been flooded with random emails: "I'm a teacher and a parent, I want to try this,' a lot of notes like that," Bertoli said. 'There's a small game developers conference at Bloomington [Indiana], they said 'We want you to speak.'" Unfortunately, he couldn't.

"There was a grandmother from Arizona who wrote me," Bertoli said. "She said, 'This is the best thing ever; you're a genius.'"

Hence the homework. Bertoli, with partners Courtny Cotten (a graphic designer) and Dave Mathew (a computer engineer) are building out a more fully featured web site to help any teacher implement a ClassRealm plan custom-fit to their students' needs. They've enlisted the help of illustrator Alice Carroll, hailing from Australia, too. Bertoli is quite serious about creating a very professional, mobile-friendly web application.

He just has to do it in his spare time. His principal advised him to be sure to work on ClassRealm entirely at home, not because he doesn't support the idea, but to make sure there's no doubt who owns the idea if it becomes a success.

"He really liked it. He was pleased to see the reaction. Of course, when I showed him the story on Kotaku, there was a post about Lollipop Chainsaw so we had to scroll down past that," Bertoli laughed. "But he thought it was awesome.

"It's like I'm trying to keep two separate lives going," Bertoli said, "like I'm a superhero."

'The satisfaction really comes from seeing the kids get the concept of what they are studying,' says Bertoli.

And, yes, all of this requires a Kickstarter campaign, which opened yesterday and will last for one month into June.

To reintroduce those who haven't heard of ClassRealm and maybe aren't in the sixth grade, the "game" is essentially an experience-point system that rewards players—voluntary participation is stressed—for the basic participatory acts of school: answering questions, helping others, recognizable effort. It gives out achievements for specific tasks, such as extra reading or free-writing essays without being assigned. MMO concepts such as alliances and random encounters also have analogues in ClassRealm. Kids pick a character "class" and race (zombies, vampires, ninjas and wizards are staples of the lineup) and they have a fantasy realm avatar to complete the connection to role-playing games.

"The satisfaction really comes from giving the kids the motivation and then seeing them actually get the concept of what they are studying," Bertoli said. "If they're struggling in a certain thing, but they are pushing hard because they want the XP, or an achievement, and then suddenly it clicks, seeing that happen is really rewarding. The student feels like, 'I was going for XP, but now I am happy that I learned something.'"

Bertoli, a recent graduate of the University of Indianapolis, reported great success with encouraging kids to read and write more through ClassRealm. But the web site he was using to administer the game—a Google doc, basically—was not streamlined, and managing the awarding of XP was becoming cumbersome with just a pencil and paper. That's where the web application comes in; it's as much to make it more manageable for himself as it is to make it accessible to a teacher who, of course, didn't create and may not understand the system.

The illustrations and graphics, he says, are to complete the MMO look-and-feel and provide an inviting interface for kids, so they feel like they're fully participating in a game. The mobile friendly concept for the site is so it can be easily accessed on a smartphone or tablet as well as a laptop or PC.

"If this had never blown up the way it has, I wouldn't have stopped," Bertoli said. He would have continued to implement ClassRealm in his class, because he's seen its results. Now others are excited about its potential to motivate their students. "At the time I thought I'd just tell my friends or guys on #Speakup about this, and they'd say, oh my God, this is cool, I wish my teacher would have done that.

"I was talking about this with my principal today," Bertoli said. "He thinks it's great, and encouraged me to just keep working on it and adding to it."

Which means the teacher is now the one taking home extra work as the last day of school draws near.


See, Video Game Covers in the U.K. are Like This and in Australia They're Like ƨiʜTBecause of the size and position of the Australian ratings classification for video games (CTC here is a placeholder), Ubisoft had to mirror the image of the Far Cry 3 box art, in order for us to see that poor bastard buried up to his nostrils by that psychopath, posing like a dual-wielding Le Penseur.

Considering all the grief Aussies take for being upside-down, this is a hilariously appropriate solution. Hat tip to Gemini-Phoenix for pointing it out to us in #tips.


Sony Survey Suggests New Games, Call of Duty: Elite May Be in PlayStation Plus' FutureA marketing survey conducted by Sony suggests it's pondering content changes to PlayStation Plus, potentially including free, full-size Blu Ray games on the day they release, and a free Call of Duty: Elite subscription, reports IGN.

PlayStation Plus, the premium content service Sony launched in 2010, currently offers annual subscriptions for $49.99, or three-month subscriptions for $17.99. Discounts, trial versions of games and free versions of older games are included, with the catalog updating monthly.

The survey asked respondents to pick their ideal PlayStation Plus plan from a range of hypothetical content offerings, then what they're willing to pay for that. The subscription choices included a monthly plan.

Sony responded to the IGN post by saying "We have nothing specific to announce at this time." More details, plus a screenshot of the survey and the hypothetical content offerings it described, are at the link.

PlayStation Plus: Free COD Elite and New Releases? [IGN]