StarForge is quite the thing. Fire it up and you think it's a shooter. Run around and you find there's nothing to shoot. Go to switch weapons and...oh. Oh.

See, StarForge isn't really a shooter. It's a shooting sandbox. You're dropped in a randomly-generated world with not just a gun, but an invisible space shovel that lets you alter the terrain around you. You've also got an invisible space forklift and toolbox, letting you lay down various crates and construction materials, as well as the ability to magically generate turrets and spinning death traps.

The idea being, you create your own insane Starship Troopers moments. Dig yourself a bastion, lay down defences, draw your gun then hit 0 to start spawning monsters. Which means it's on.

It's pretty basic, and because it's so early in development it's rough as hell (as you'll see from my skydiving sequence in the video above). But for a game that's been made by two guys, it's at least ambitious enough to warrant a try, especially since later versions are looking to include a lot more features, bad guys, terrains and construction options (as you'll see in the trailer to your left).

StarForge [Official Site]

Continuing my dust-covered crusade against modern unboxings, here's another vintage unboxing, in which an Atari 800XL from 1983 is transferred lovingly from the packaging to the outside world.

The 800XL was essentially a cheaper and nastier version of the Atari 800, albeit with fancier packaging. It couldn't even run some Atari 800 programs natively, requiring a "translator" disk to port some code over.

Unboxing: 1983 Atari 800XL home computer [Justin76pa]

In 1985, Namco America employee Steven Drake was arrested by police and found with $32,000 cash on him, with even more hidden in the trunk of a car parked at San Francisco airport.

Turns out he'd been buying up gold coins from South Africa and Canada using Namco's money. The scoundrel.

In total, Drake siphoned $318,000 from Namco's coffers, depositing it in a local bank under the company name. The bank, however, got suspicious when Drake, alone, tried to withdraw all of the money at once. When they called Namco to verify this, Drake's scam was up, and he was arrested just as he was on his way out of the US.

Namco embezzlement [Patrick Scott Patterson]


The Correct Answer Was 'Pastrami Sandwich'Good God, I love pastrami sandwiches. They are, all things considered, my favorite kind of sandwich—I like pastrami sandwiches even better than BLTs with avocado, which is saying something.

E3 madness has precluded our usual link-list for tonight's open thread, so instead I put a question to you: What kind of sandwich is best? Do you love pastrami as much as I do? What is it that makes pastrami so good? If you're a vegetarian, what's the closest thing you can get to a pastrami sandwich?

Feel free to discuss that, or anything else you like. Have good open threading!


Get an Early Look at the E3 Showroom FloorE3 doesn't kick off until next week, but already teams of workers are hard at it, putting up all the flashy booths and stalls and screens that beam three days' worth of unrelenting video game marketing to your computers and attendee's eyeballs.

Some NeoGAF members are sharing pics of the showroom floor under construction, as well as pics of the enormous signage that's springing up in the area surrounding the Los Angeles Convention Centre. To see shots of the area surrounding that area, check out these.

Go on, examine every pixel for clues. There won't be any, the secret stuff normally stays under literal lock and key until the last moment, but don't let me rain on your snooping parade.

E3 signage starting to show up in LA [NeoGAF]

Get an Early Look at the E3 Showroom Floor Get an Early Look at the E3 Showroom Floor Get an Early Look at the E3 Showroom Floor Get an Early Look at the E3 Showroom Floor Get an Early Look at the E3 Showroom Floor Get an Early Look at the E3 Showroom Floor Get an Early Look at the E3 Showroom Floor Get an Early Look at the E3 Showroom Floor Get an Early Look at the E3 Showroom Floor Get an Early Look at the E3 Showroom Floor Get an Early Look at the E3 Showroom Floor


DOTA 2 Will be Free, But You Can Buy HatsIt's been sort of known for a while now, but today Valve came out and specifically stated that DOTA 2 will be free-to-play. And just like Team Fortress 2 these days, the company will make its money back not from game sales, but from hats.

There'll be a DOTA 2 Store available at launch (actually, it's live now!) that will sell clothes, accessories and other cosmetic items. That's it. Valve says "Dota 2 will not be a pay-to-win game. All the items in the store are cosmetic, and don't affect gameplay."

Because of that, all heroes in the game will be free and available to everyone. You'll even be able to get hold of the cosmetic stuff without paying if you feel like putting the work in, as "players who don't want to buy things from the Dota 2 Store will be able to earn them in a variety of ways, such as by simply playing the game, increasing their Battle Level, or by trading with other players."

As someone who paid $15 over my career to Battlefield Heroes for fancy jackets - the only "microtransaction" stuff I've ever parted with real money for - I've long hoped more publishers went down this path, instead of restricting necessary content behind paywalls. Good to see Valve, at least, agrees.

DOTA 2 will also be part of the Steam Workshop, meaning fans can help create stuff that has the potential to end up in the game itself.

Introducing the Dota Store [Valve]


It's Definitely That E3 Time of Year... E3 2012 is on the way, and Los Angeles is turning into a veritable wonderland of gaming marketing. Enormous ads and banners are beginning to blanket the city, showing off some of the hotly-anticipated titles we expect to hear more about next week. Halo 4, Borderlands 2, and The Elder Scrolls Online have all made larger-than-life appearances so far, decorating downtown.

And don't forget! If you would like to keep up with all of next week's E3 announcements, here's how to get all your news live from Kotaku, during Monday and Tuesday's biggest press events.

Photo: The Elder Scrolls Online beginning to decorate the Hotel Figueroa, via the Bethesda blog.

It's Definitely That E3 Time of Year...

Photo: Halo 4 adorning the convention center, via @HaloWaypoint

It's Definitely That E3 Time of Year...

Photo: Borderlands 2 hanging high over LA, via Jeremy Hoffman


Looks Like the Next Big Star Wars Game Stars Boba FettThe same GameTrailers spill that leaked the announcement of a Castlevania Lords of Shadow sequel also mentions a new Star Wars game called 1313.

As we expected when a site was trademarked by Lucasarts, 1313 strongly suggests this is a Boba Fett game, since Boba's use of the CT-1313 is about the only significant time the numerals pop up in Star Wars lore.

If we can't have Prey 2 as our space mercenary game to look forward to at this E3, this will do just fine as a substitute, thanks.

We'll more than likely have a trailer and more news when the actual GameTRailers TV episode airs later tonight.

Star Wars 1313, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 titles leaked ahead of E3 announcements [Joystiq]

One of my favorite things about Remedy's first two Max Payne games was their winking, self-aware style. That vibe was perhaps best encapsulated by the scene in which Max has a drug hallucination and realizes that he's the protagonist of a video game.

Rockstar's take on the character is much more gritty and dark, and often feels weighed down by over-seriousness. But occasionally, the game will toss a nod to the series' roots by making an absurd reference.

My favorite of these is the moment in the video above, when Max discovers a trashed, out-of-tune piano in a run-down building in Brazil. The piano could be a metaphor for Max—beat up, broken, but still playing that same old tune. I particularly love how the game's actual soundtrack (which is astonishingly good in its own right) plays a lead-in chord to the piano solo, with Max resolving the unresolved cadence.

And what does he choose to play? Why, what else but the classic theme from the original game.

"And, for a few seconds, came harmony. Finally."


Castlevania Lords of Shadow Gets a SequelKonami's Castlevania reboot (of sorts), Lords of Shadow, will be getting the sequel treatment, a slip-up on GameTrailers has revealed.

An episode summary for tonight's show, which will also feature the debut of stuff we already knew about (like a new Star Wars game), mentions Lords of Shadow 2 as one of the titles getting the hype treatment.

Expect more info, including a trailer, when the episode of GameTrailers TV airs later tonight.

Star Wars 1313, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 titles leaked ahead of E3 announcements [Joystiq]