This is the Wii U's big release weekend in North America and no, you will not find it discounted anywhere. In fact you, probably will not find it anywhere unless you pre-ordered the console back when its release date was announced. Dealzon reports that the only online availability for Nintendo's new console is through third party sellers, at wildly inflated prices, on Amazon.
So, with the obligatory Wii U mention out of the way, you still can find savings and incentives on new games such as Halo 4 and Assassin's Creed 3, plus deals on PC downloads of upcoming major releases. Some 50 deals are in this week's final pre-Black Friday Moneysaver, check 'em out below.
• Nov. 20 release Hitman: Absolution—Professional Edition (PC download) hit a new low, $29.25 after coupon at Green Man Gaming. Next best is $45. [Dealzon]
• Nov. 20 release Assassin's Creed 3 (PC download) is $39.99 from GameFly. Elsewhere $40. Deluxe Edition is $63.99, elsewhere $80. [Dealzon]
• Dec. 4 release Far Cry 3 (PC download) is $39.99, free shipping from GameFly. List price is $50. [Dealzon]
• Halo 4 (360) for $59.99 comes with a $20 eGift Card from Dell Home. Next best offer is Toys 'R' Us for $49.99, no bonus. Elsewhere $60. [Dealzon]
• Assassin's Creed 3 (360, PS3) is $49.99, free shipping from Amazon. Elsewhere $54 and up. [Dealzon]
• Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (360, PS3) for $59.99 still comes with $20 eGift Card from Dell Home. Next best offers are $15 bonus card from Kmart or Toys 'R' Us at $49.99, no bonus. [Dealzon]
• Soul Calibur V Collector's Edition (360) is $24.99, free shipping from NewEgg. Next best is $34. [Dealzon]
• Disney Epic Mickey (Wii) is $7.99, free shipping from Best Buy. Next best is $19. [Dealzon]
• Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC download) is now free to play through all 50 levels (previously capped at 15). Naturally, plenty of in-game items and features require payment. [Dealzon]
• Crusader Kings 2 (PC download) is $8 from Green Man Gaming. Normally $40. [Dealzon]
• Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC) is $7.99, free shipping from NewEgg. Next best is $12. [Dealzon]
• LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (PC) is $5.99, free shipping from NewEgg. Next best is $17. [Dealzon]
• F.E.A.R. 3 (PC) is $5.99, free shipping from NewEgg. Next best is $19. [Dealzon]
• LEGO Batman (PC) is $5.99, free shipping from NewEgg. Next best is $12. [Dealzon]
• Rage (PC) is $4.99, free shipping from NewEgg. Next best is $12. [Dealzon]
• Hunted: The Demon's Forge (PC) is $3.99, free shipping from NewEgg. Next best is $16. [Dealzon]
• Tantalizing THQ Medley (6 PC Downloads) is $9.99 from Amazon. Titles include: Homefront, Metro 2033, Red Faction: Armageddon, Red Faction: Guerrilla, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow
of Chernobyl. Separately $88. [Dealzon]
• Syndicate (PC Download) is $7.92 from Green Man Gaming. Next best is $30. [Dealzon]
• Nintendo Wii bundle with Just Dance 4 is out for $129.99 with free pickup at Best Buy. [Dealzon]
• Hannspree 24.6-inch HF255DPB 2ms LCD Monitor is $159.99, free shipping from NewEgg. Next best is $164. [Dealzon]
• Samsung 24-inch S24B750V 2ms LED Monitor for $229.99 comes with $40 Gift Card from NewEgg. Next best price for just the monitor is $300. [Dealzon]
• Dell's 21.5-inch Alienware OptX gaming monitor (Refurbished, model AW2210/1FX9D, 1080p 2ms) is $149.99, free shipping from NewEgg. List price is $300. [Dealzon]
• Samsung 20-inch S20B350H 2ms LED Monitor (Refurbished) is $99, free shipping from Buy.com. Next best is $145. [Dealzon]
• Seagate 500GB Momentus XT 7200RPM Solid State Hybrid Drive is $49.99, free shipping from NewEgg. Next best is $90. [Dealzon]
• Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 95412SU Ivy Bridge Core i7-3632QM, 8GB RAM, GeForce GT 650M, swappable optical bay, and Windows 8 is $849, free shipping from Lenovo. List price is $1,149. [Dealzon]
• Alienware M14x r2 Ivy Bridge Core i7-3630QM 3rd Gen, 12GB RAM, 2GB GeForce GT 650M is $1,371, free shipping from Dell Home. Normally $1,509. [Dealzon]
• Lenovo's 14-inch IdeaPad Y400 952324U with Ivy Bridge Core i5-3210M, 8GB RAM, GeForce GT650M, Windows 8, and swappable optical drive bay is $749. But for just $50 more you can get the Core i7-3630QM 95232FU config, now only $799 after $550 coupon from Lenovo. That's $120 cheaper than at release last week. [Dealzon]
• HP Envy Phoenix h9-1340t Desktop with Ivy Bridge Quad Core i7-3770K, GeForce GTX 660 1.5GB, 12GB RAM, and Windows 8 is $1,299.99, free shipping from HP. That a new low by $80. [Dealzon]
• Dell XPS 8500 Desktop with Ivy Bridge Quad Core i7-3770, Radeon
HD 7570, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Windows 8 is $699.99, free shipping from Dell
Home. That's lowest ever by $80. [Dealzon]
The following listing of digital download bargains are grouped by distributor. For more, see Deals4Downloads' roundup.
• Prototype Pack is $9.99, save 89 percent.
• Serious Sam 3: BFE is $10.00, save 75 percent.
• Company of Heroes Game of the Year is $7.40, save 63 percent.
• FIFA Manager 13 is $15.99, save 60 percent.
• Majesty 2 Collection is $4.99, save 75 percent.
• Orcs Must Die! is $2.50, save 75 percent.
• Orcs Must Die! 2 Complete Pack is $10.00, save 50 percent.
• Best of Tilted Mill is $24.95, save 50 percent.
• Metro 2033 is $4.99, save 75 percent.
• Football Manager 2012 is $7.49, save 75 percent.
• London 2012: The Official video game of the Olympic Games is $11.24, save 75 percent.
Kotaku thanks our coupon partners for providing these and other great deals. Be sure to bookmark and search their Kotaku hashtags (#dealzon, #deals4downloads and #dealtaku) for updates throughout the week. Further, to our friends across the pond and north of the border, check the #ukdeals, #europedeals and #canadadeals hashtags and be sure to flag any deals you might have with that.
As always, smart gamers can find values any day of the week, so if you've run across a deal, share it with us in the comments.
Welcome to the Best of Kotaku, where I round up all of this week's best content.
This week's best image is what I imagine baby Gordon Freeman looks like. Look at him. All adorable and rosy-cheeked. Go on. Look at him. knitetgantt's adorable creation was found with the help of Blue Dog's Eyes.
Moving on to our Best Of content this week, we kick things off as usual with a comment from the community.
Our favorite comment of this week comes to you from bakagaijin, who commiserates with harsh working conditions:
As someone who works in Japan, I'm not surprised by these complaints. Granted it's a different industry, but I can completely understand.
I'm in this unique position where I work both in the public and private sector simultaneously. My company is private. And honestly I don't have too many complaints outside of some weird, arbitrary and contradicting rules. Nothing too serious. I suppose every company has issues regardless of country.
But the public sector? What a mess. Bureaucracy masters. How anything gets done at any level is beyond me. But I won't get too into that. The comment about work loads and physical labor strikes a cord with me.
Now I'm lucky enough to not have to work the hours as my co-workers, nor do I have the same workload. But they are worked to the bone. They arrive at 5am, and don't leave until 9, 10pm at night. And they do this 7 days a week, usually. 6 if they are lucky. They are utterly exhausted, forced—and I do mean forced—to stay and work these ridiculous hours even if there is no need. And I won't even get into the needless activities, meetings and paperwork that needs to be done on a daily basis.
It's the old Japanese way of doing things that still permeates, and is what I think is holding back these companies, cities, etc. Change doesn't come easy here. People hate the way things are done; I hear complaints all the time. But nobody knows how to stop the terrible cycle.
There are many companies who are changing. Have changed. Internationalization has forced this change, in a way. But there is still a lot of old-schooler's that are doing things like they did 40 years ago, and it is literally killing them.
Andrés Neltz tracks the history of Halo-Life 2: Episode Three. More »
Kirk Hamilton and Stephen Totilo duke it out over AC III. More »
Stephen tells us how David Petraeus is portrayed in the latest Call of Duty. More »
Luke Plunkett marvels at how far video games have come. More »
Patricia Hernandez enjoys Black Ops II as a well-made game, but also as a thoughtful one. More »
Kate Cox gets comfortable with the teamwork in Natural Selection 2, and enjoys even just watching the game. More »
Stephen shares his impressions of Black Ops II's Zombies mode. More »
Stephen Totilo makes a case for how Black Ops II is basically like Mass Effect given its depth of choice. More »
Jason Schreier loves the Wii U and his ability to multi-task with it. More »
Stephen shares ten things he loves and hates about the Wii U so far (updates to come). More »
Kirk smites the sinners and praises the saints of games who follow the ten commandments of video game menus. More »
The non-gaming employees of Gawker play around with the Wii U for the first time. More »
Jason reports on Metacritic's refusal to take down a review and score that don't even exist anymore. More »
Jason loves the gorgeous and fun new New Super Mario Bros. U. More »
Stephen finds Nintendo Land to be like a nifty instructional guide to the Wii U. More »
Kirk explores the house in Gone Home to learn about its inhabitants. More »
Evan Narcisse explains how the Riot team wants to strengthen the lore in League of Legends. More »
Isaiah Cartwright answered your questions about Guild Wars 2 live on the site. More »
Patricia Hernandez tells us all about the next DLC. More »
Luke Plunkett was left unsatisfied by his Black Ops II ending. More »
Patricia likes the Zombie mode in theory, but it fails in practice. More »
Patricia dives into what she likes and doesn't like about multiplayer. More »
Jason explains that perhaps the best thing about Persona 4 is that it is a seductive escape from reality, but still grounded in very familiar, real-life ways. More »
Manga artist Pyocotan might be best known for signature illustrations in Japanese game magazine Gamelabo or CoroCoro Comic. His work is anything but cute. It's actually both wonderful and creepy—kind of like Robert Crumb.
Pyocotan, a hardcore Nintendo fan, recently picked up a copy of Animal Crossing: New Leaf and is passing the time by decorating his room with customized wallpaper and flooring he drew. What he's doing isn't just self promotion, but timely: Besides his own art, those posters feature a man's face are actually wanted posters for alleged murderer Toshikazu Koike.
The wanted posters, which say "Hey, Koike!" (おい、小池!), became iconic after Koike was on the run for over a decade. The poster's large font and the unorthodox phrase did not go unnoticed by the Japanese public and were parodied online.
Late last month, Yomiuri reported that Koike died of natural causes, evading capture. The original poster (below) was designed by Keizo Matsui, who worked for Apple as a design consultant. How's that for a wanted poster design pedigree?
Pyocotan wasn't trying to help capture Koike or anything (New Leaf came out after Koike died), but he was simply being aware of what's happening in the news and making somewhat of a subversive nod to an iconic wanted poster.
Drawing the images in Animal Crossing, including the "Hey, Koike!" poster, was taxing, eating up lots of time. And according to Searchina, Pyocotan is apparently distributing those posters in AC to those who ask. If so, wow, what a nice guy.
『とびだせ どうぶつの森』で「おい！ 小池」のポスターを描いて話題に [Searchina]
While Resident Evil 6 might not have been the best survival horror game, it sure did have nice hairdos and cool looking firearms. That's probably why Airsoft gun maker Tokyo Marui is releasing a customized version of the SIG P226
that Leon Kennedy wields in the game.
This isn't a first: Tokyo Marui has collaborated with Capcom in the past, releasing replicas of the Samurai Edge, among others.
Priced at ¥27,090 and on sale next spring, this latest collaboration is limited edition and comes with a special hard carrying case.
Tokyo Marui showed off the gun at a hobby show last month. Military store Echigoya was on hand and snapped a few pictures of the replica. Have a look, and click each image to expand to full size.
2013 Limited Edition - Leon Custom [Tokyo Marui]
Correction: This is an original customized Division of Security Operations SIG that has been modified with Leon in mind. It's not the pistol he carried—apologies!
Popstar Utada Hikaru was taking time off. She hadn't put out a new song since 2010. Until now.
Utada is lending her talents to the new Evangelion feature film, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Q 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo. She's such a big fan of the series, that she couldn't turn down the offer to do the film's theme. The name of the tune is "Sakura Nagashi" (桜流し).
Besides releasing hit albums, songstress previously belted out the theme songs for the Japanese role-playing games Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II.
宇多田ヒカル - 桜流し [Hikki@YouTube]
In Japanese, they're called "dakimakura" (抱き枕). In English, they're "hug pillows". In short, hugging them while you sleep can either given a greater sense of security or even help with back problems.
The insinuation, however, is that hug pillows are otaku girlfriends. This is even a joke in Japan, tinged with irony—and most certainly not always true. Many otaku have real partners! Many more don't dry hump their pillows. And many simply use them to get comfortable.
But, let's say you have a hug pillowcase that you love and you think that something's missing. For you, there's Kuu-Pillow. It's an "a dakimakura you can insert yourself in". I'll let that one sink in.
Kuu-Pillow's box asserts in English:
Feels good. Feels right. Kuu-Pillow not only feels great, it's well-made, durable, functional, and it feels right with new and experienced users alike. With Kuu-Pillow, we strive to satisfy and not dissapoint [SIC].
Why is it that some of the best English I've recently seen on a Japanese product happens to be on a sex toy?
Kuu-Pillow is an inflatable, vinyl pillow that has an opening that can be outfitted with a fleshlight type sex toy and then covered with your favorite hug pillowcase. In the middle of the pillow, you can put a two-liter bottle to keep the pillow in place,. That's for when you sleep soundly next to it, no doubt.
The reaction online in Japan has ranged from "Talk about pathetic" and "What's wrong with this country?" to "I'll take one!" Keep in mind that this pillow appeared on an adult goods site, and it's certainly not a mainstream product—it's not even a mainstream product among otaku.
While recently dakimakura have become closely associated with Japanese nerds, it wasn't always that way, and the word itself doesn't immediately have a geek connotation. Japanese website Daki-makura.com, for example, has an array of hug pillows, but it's not pandering to otaku. The site is actually targeting folks, especially women, who want a better night's sleep—not this.
Known as Battle Vixens in the West, Ikki Tousen is the latest anime/game property to be turned in a stage production, following in the footsteps of Sengoku Basara, Persona, and Phoenix Wright. As Comic Natalie points out (via JEFUsion), Daisuke Nishida, who did the Sengoku Basara stage plays, will be writing and directing.
These kinds of plays stick very close to the original character designs, as to not upset fans. For better or worse, the result, however, does carry a whiff of cosplay. That doesn't mean all these adaptations aren't very good. Some, like Phoenix Wright, are terrific.
The stage version will star Shizuka Nakamura as Hakufu Sonsaku and Miyuu Sawai as Shimei Ryoumu. The production runs from November 30 to December 9 in Tokyo.
Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime did the Jimmy Fallon show on Friday, got some dinner and then... he took a stroll to the Nintendo World Store. He found more than 50 people camped out to pick up the Wii U at midnight Saturday night. I tagged along to see what happened.
I walked the line with the Nintendo boss and GTTV's Geoff Keighley. Reggie bantered with fans, took requests and helped us hunt for elusive Triforce Johnson, the supposed lead person on line to pick up a Wii U. (He wasn't there!)
Sorry for the shaky cam, but this was done on the fly.
Late last night, two things happened in Japan: the first six minutes of Neon Genesis Evangelion: Q 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, and that movie's midnight premiere.
This wasn't just the first screening of a big time anime. It was a party. An event.
Japanese website Gigazine was on hand at the midnight screening in Tokyo's Shinjuku.
Soak up the festivities inside and outside the theater.
Click on the lower corner of each image to expand to full size.
This morning I reported on the closing on Hostess Brands Inc., the company that's been keeping America in Twinkies, Ho-Hos and Ding Dongs for 82 years. I suggested readers rush to the store and buy all of the Hostess snacks they could before they disappeared. If you didn't heed that advice, it may already be too late.
After reading reports on the internet from folks having difficulty finding Hostess products in stores today, I set off on a mission to procure a box of Twinkies to preserve in my freezer should the sale of Hostess' brands take longer than the product's shelf life (roughly half a century). After stopping at three Walmarts, two Targets, three Kroger shopping centers, a Publix and various gas station convenience stores, I came up empty.
In fact, aside from the 100 calorie varieties and, at two Walmart locations, those crappy strawberry cupcakes, there were no iconic snacks to be found. So how did I wind up with a box of Ding Dongs? I rummaged through the return carts at the front of the final Walmart and struck gold.
Here are some tips for finding the remaining Hostess cakes in this bleak post-snackopalyptic landscape.
• Rummage through the return carts in front of Walmart, obviously.
• Drive out into the middle of nowhere and pray for a mom-and-pop store that doesn't only stock Little Debbies.
• Buy them online from Amazon.com, where a box of 20 will run you anywhere from $60 to $1,000,000. Holy shit.
• Try eBay? No wait, screw that.
• Make your own Twinkies! They'll taste and look just like the real thing if you close your eyes and hold your nose.
• Huddle in a corner and cry, imagining a world where sharing Seanbaby's greatest work requires a history lesson.
It's a dark day in the history of snacking, ladies and gentlemen. I'm going to grab my wife, my kids, my rifle and my Ding Dongs and head for the underground bunker.
I leave you with this:
Good night, and good luck.