There'll be games, parties, e-sports, food, swag, you name it, if it's got to do with PC gaming, it'll probably be somewhere at Elmia Fair, where the attendees get access to super-fast internet and around-the-clock access (the festival runs 24/7).
As you can probably imagine, setting up a LAN party for that amount of people takes an insane amount of work, so it's fascinating to see these images of the Dreamhack crew doing just that.
You can read more about Dreamhack 2012 at the event's official site.
The game sells itself as a slow-paced, down-to-earth sort of game, where players take on the role of village leader and gradually build up their villages in any way they see fit. Personally, I'm a fan of games of this sort of genre. While I usually enjoy dramatic or high-paced games with a lot of flash and bang, I've always enjoyed sitting down and spending some time tinkering away with the Harvest Moon series or building a city in Sim City. Even so, and I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that Animal Crossing did not seem like the game for me. It was always one of those games that you'd hear people raving about but you felt indifferent to it. In fact, the more enthusiastic people would get, the less I felt like playing it. Its popularity seemed like an infectious disease that I wanted no part of.
Unfortunately, as with all pandemics, once someone close to you falls prey, you can no longer turn a blind eye. So when multiple people on my personal Twitter feed started tweeting about the game and all their strange and quite humorous episodes, my curiosity was piqued. Eventually, a close friend started tweeting about it and suggested I play it, so I broke down and decided to see what the fuss was all about.
The first obstacle was finding the damn game. The problem with popular games is that they're popular, so every store I went to was sold out. Pretty much every game dealer had a sign posted saying they were sold out. One place where I asked said all copies of their next shipment were reserved and they were taking reservations on the shipment after that.
I figured that my search was futile and lamented on Twitter that by the time I would be able to get a copy, the momentum of the game would probably have died down. A friend immediately replied to me that the downloadable version was available on Nintendo's eShop. Seeing as I had no other way of getting it, short of paying outlandish prices on auction sites, I accessed the eShop and purchased a copy to see what all the fuss was about.
The game started out simply enough. I was on a train and a cat walked up to me and asked me my name and the name of the village I was headed to and- Oh dear God, the game is making me choose a name. I hate choosing a name… So, after about an hour of typing a deleting and typing again, the battery of my 3DS ran out. Plugging it into the charger, I gave my character a name that would be recognizable to my friends online, chose a gender, named the village after my home town, and I was on my way.
I was greeted at the station by a bunch of villagers. Apparently the new village leader was supposed to arrive and they mistook me for him. I was taken to the village office where I was given instruction on what to do. First, I needed a house. I went to the village real estate agent and got a plot of land. I was then informed that I needed to pay a down payment of 10,000 bells (the currency of the village) before they could start construction.
Asking around, I was told that the best way to make money would be to sell things like fruits from trees or seashells from the beach or catch and sell bugs at the local store. So I set about shaking trees and picking up stuff to sell and before I knew it 5 hours had passed and I was taking fossils to the museum for identification and trying to make friends with the local villagers and trying to make enough money to buy a new refrigerator and SOMEBODY HELP ME, THIS GAME IS DIGITAL HEROIN!
It's like the start of any addiction: You find yourself thinking, "pffft! People like this!?" or "I'll be fine. I'll just try a little bit and be done with it." Next thing you know, you're begging for one last hit as your best friend drives you up to the steps of Betty Ford…
On the outset, the game is deceptively welcoming. It has an overall cute and warm atmosphere to it and the animal villagers are adorable, especially the yellow dog lady who serves as your secretary. (Some players have jokingly said that the fact that you can't marry her is a game-crippling bug) Perhaps what makes the game so addictive is that it runs in real-time. The day gradually turns to night and back to day again, the seasons change, events and holidays take place all in this little virtual world where you constantly want to be in lest you might miss something. I still have yet to use the customization functions or the network functions of the game, but I hear they add to the game's addictive nature (if not make it a little creepy).
Honestly, I cannot believe how quickly I went from, "Animal Crossing? Really?" to "Well, I've got 5 minutes, let's turn on the game." The game is a total sucker punch and I'm fairly certain I'll be playing it for a while.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is currently available in Japan. An English version of the game is scheduled for release sometime in the first half of 2013.
Oles Shishkovtsov, from Metro developers 4A Games, delivered a short-but-interesting verdict on Nintendo's new console recently when he said "[The] Wii U has a horrible, slow CPU."
4A & THQ PR man Huw Beynon (THQ being the publisher of 4A's Metro: Last Light) elaborated a little more at the time, but in the wake of reaction to Shishkovtsov's comments has come out and tried to elaborate a whole lot more.
"I think there was one comment made by Oles the programmer - the guy who built the engine," he told Eurogamer.
"It's a very CPU intensive game. I think it's been verified by plenty of other sources, including your own Digital Foundry guys, that the CPU on Wii U on the face of it isn't as fast as some of the other consoles out there. Lots of developers are finding ways to get around that because of other interesting parts of the platform."
"I think that what frustrates me about the way the story's been spun out is that there's been no opportunity to say, 'Well, yes, on that one individual piece maybe it's not as... maybe his opinion is that it's not as easy for the way that the 4A engine's been built as is the others."
Beynon then says the game could have been ported to iPad if Metro had wanted, but that every version stretches the small developer's resources, which are pushed pretty far as it is with three versions of Metro: Last Light planned.
In the wake of Shishkovtsov's comments, however, another developer—Gustav Halling, from Battlefield developers DICE—has come out and said he's been hearing much the same thing, writing on Twitter:
None of which is necessarily a problem for consumers. Halling himself later says what Wii U owners will already know, that the console will get plenty of great games from Nintendo, but as a third-party developer who's about to start making games for a new generation of consoles, you can perhaps understand his (and Shishkovtsov's) frustration.
It's not often you get to see a game guide, of sorts, written by an artist. But then, it's not often a game is as simple as Angry Birds.
Artist Evan Roth has finished Rovio's mobile game in a pretty unique way: he managed to record every swipe of his finger throughout the game's levels, using tracing paper to mark his fingerprints as he dragged the birds through all 300 puzzles. The result is a work of art called Angry Birds All Levels.
He's got them showing as 300 individual cards on a wall in a gallery in Dublin, but for a more compact view you should check out the animated clip above.
The gallery describes the piece as:
[Angry Birds All Levels] comments on the rise of casual gaming, identity and our relationship with mobile devices. Consisting of 300 sheets of tracing paper and black ink, it's a visualization of every finger swipe needed to complete the popular mobile game of the same name. The gestures exist on a sheet of paper that's the same size as the iPhone on which it was originally created. Angry Birds is part of a larger series that Roth has been working on over the last year called Multi-Touch Paintings. These compositions are created by performing simple routine tasks on multi-touch handheld computing devices [ranging from unlocking the device to checking Twitter] with inked fingers. The series is a comment on computing and identity, but also creates an archive of this moment in history where we have started to manipulate pixels directly through gestures that we were unfamiliar with just over 5 years ago. In the end, the viewer is presented with a black and white representation of the gestures that have been prescribed to us in the form of user interaction design.
One of the most chilling consequences of last month's brutal superstorm was how Sandy flooded and shut down huge chunks of New York City's mass transit system. Entire subway stations were submerged and the tunnels that trains travel through were flooded to an unprecedented degree. Much of the subway system was up and running in about a week, though, thanks to an effort that's been called almost magical. Pump trains—which cleared water out from underground—were a vital part of the subway recovery, and now a new game puts players in the driver's seat of one such vehicle.
The mechanics of Pump Train will be familiar to anyone who's played games like Diner Dash or Flight Control, where you need to manage resources at multiple stations on a gameboard. But the context surrounding this little browser game—made for the LinkedList newsletter— gives it a surprising emotional impact. For me, it reminded me of the crippling impact that Sandy has had on the place where I've lived all my life. Pump Train takes a few liberties but still manages to effectively boil down what the tension and stress of trying to bring subways back online must have felt like for the people responsible. Watching the water fill up to critical levels at South Ferry or Delancey Street means more than just a game over here. It means you're losing part of a city, and I played my damnedest to stop that from happening. Pump Train isn't a bad case of Too Soon. It works precisely because the storm is so fresh in people's minds.
What suggestions do you have for the Vita gamer? Watch out for our editors' picks down below, but feel free to add yours, too.
You know how you can play Dishonored either violently or stealthily? I tended to opt for stealth, even though I liked how fun the game was when things got action-packed.
But I have never, ever seen someone take on the game with the kind of violent aplomb shown by kekkoSoNicSyNdIcAtE in the video above. Dude takes out 25 enemies without breaking a sweat, often in the sickest, most elaborate ways possible. It's a real stress-test of Dishonored's design that this kind of thing is possible. Amazing.
(Via Tom Francis)
Following up my review for the Hot Toys Avengers Hawkeye figure, I was surprised to find my order of the Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece The Dark Knight Rises 1/6th scale figure Batman arrive in the mail. Granted it was one month late, but the Hong Kong collectible company is both notoriously and understandably late in their deliveries. Giddy as Hell, I opened the package to see what was to be found…
Once again, Hot Toys did not disappoint. The craftsmanship in the face alone was worth the extra 1 month wait. (I wonder whose job it was to paint Christian Bale's eye wart… ) Like previous figures, it's not 100%, but it's close enough.
The figure comes with interchangeable hands, a masked and unmasked head (with different mouths for the masked head), and all the gear advertised: The grappling gun, a pump-action timed explosive gun that actually comes apart and can be attached to Batman's belt, a couple of batarangs and smoke bombs, and a light-up replica of that weird mechanics breaking gun that appeared in the movie briefly. It also comes with an impressive light-up stand that's made to look like concrete steps with a bat symbol stamped in it.
The masked head also has the feature of some of the recent figures that Hot Toys has released where the eyes can actually be moved to change where the figure looks, which gives it, on a scale of 1 to 10, a creepy factor of about five billion. Fortunately, the eyes move in unison rather than individually which prevents you from having a crazy-eye Batman which would be even more disturbing.
Now, in terms of flaws, the figure does have some noticeable ones. Firstly, and most importantly, the mobility of the figure is highly restricted by the full body rubber suit and it limits the number of positions the figure can take, which means you won't be having Batman sitting cross-legged or posing Gangnam Style unless you're willing to cut or rip the Batsuit at the joints. Secondly, due to the moveable eye feature, Batman's head is not attached to his neck so that the eye mechanic can be accessed easily. Instead, the head is held in place by a magnet, and not a very powerful one. Setting up poses for shooting, Batman's head went rolling several times.
Even with these flaws, however, the figure is damn cool. The details of the Batsuit make you want to watch the movies again just to compare. Batman currently sits on my shelf where he watches over my room and makes my friends jealous that I have him.
One additional note, especially to those with small children: This is not a toy. While it's more likely that someone with mouths to feed has better uses for their money, if by chance someone with kids manages to get one of these, for God's sake, keep it out of the youngin's reach. They will break it. A good friend of mine had to say goodbye to his Ezio figure, thanks to his son.
The Dark Knight Rises Batman is sold through Sideshow Collectibles and is currently on backorder.
The Amnesia Fortnight sessions at Double Fine have been a sort of open secret at Tim Schafer's Double Fine development studios. People can point to what's come out of those brainstorming marathons, in the form of Iron Brigade, Costume Quest and Stacking. And the folks at Double Fine have made the latest Amnesia Fortnight public, letting folks play prototypes and vote on the game concepts they like.
But why the change? "You know, I come from a long background of secrecy working at LucasArts. At Lucasfilm, there's obviously an important level of security there because of all the crazy Star Wars fans," Schafer told me this week. "I just kind of inherited that. It's pretty prevalent in the game industry to hoard your information and keep the doors locked so that you can surprise everybody with it, "Hey, we've been working on this crazy game for five years and now we're going to blitz everything for three months."
"You hoard your information; you keep everything really secret. You embargo everything," Schafer continued. "And then we had this experience with Kickstarter. The Kickstarter itself was great, as far as the money and the month that we were on this big spectacular ride. But the actual process of making the Double Fine Adventure game—with Two Player Productions filming it and us posting concept art to the forums like we promised we would—was very scary at first."
Schafer explained that there was a fear that all the goodwill could curdle. "Because it was like, ‘Oh, what if people just hate this?' They don't know what a mock-up looks like or an animatic. They'll say, "That looks ugly." Games look ugly while they're being made. Games are not fun to play while they're being made."
"A lot of the times, the writing is stupid [on a first pass]," the designer elaborated. "The performance is terrible. Not to mention the bugs and stuff. There are all these things about game production that are best not seen by people. And so we said this is scary but we decided to do this, so let's do it." But, instead of derision, Schafer says they found even more good feelings. "People are more empathetic and more bought-in, and feel more engaged with the project when you let them in."
It's not all hugs and high-fives, though. "There are some people who say jerky things," Schafer offered. "But for the most part people are like, ‘Wow. I never really understood how games were made before. And I never realized that you guys had to have a meeting about what to cut from the game because of the resources that you're limited to with the budget.' It's been really interesting for us."
"We showed in-progress concept art. Some people liked it. Some people didn't. And some people liked this. But we found in general, in the end, it was OK [to be open]. And in fact, it was better. And. in fact, I love it. I love having this back and forth with our community. And this whole last year of doing this Kickstarter project has in general made me much more transparent, and it's prompted us to have this wide open portal between us and our community."
I realized I wish I had been doing this all along. And so when it came time to do a new Amnesia Fortnight, we just started kind of applying this new way of doing things to where, ‘How can we make this public? How can we let people in on this process?'"
Moving this Amnesia Fortnight also lets fan decide what gets made, too. So, if the game pitch you like actually gets made, it's another thing you can thank Kickstarter for, in a roundabout way.
This year has been chock full of games. With the holidays approaching we've rounded up some gift guides covering all sorts of bases for you. Price range, platform, etc. But what if you just want to refresh your memory of this year's highlights?
Here are all of our reviews of the biggest games this year. Hopefully it will help in your holiday purchases, and to occupy your non-family time with some good game choices.
If you don't see a title you're interested in, try Kotaku.com/review where you'll find a full list, including hardware and even snack reviews.
Need For Speed: Most Wanted is a laser-focused, unblockable gut-punch of constant acceleration. Speed freaks, rejoice. More »
Because it may not be the best Assassin's Creed but it is a refreshing recharge to a well-made series. It's an important game about America, about killing bad guys and about climbing beautiful trees. More »
Assassin's Creed Liberation brings the series to Playstation Vita in strong fashion and adds inspired new mechanics to an already strong formula. More »
Halo 4 is an emotional, beautiful look at Master Chief's struggles in war. More »
Nintendo Land is the best way to experience all the wonderful weirdness of the Wii U. More »
Far Cry 3 does so much right: It's an exhilarating and empowering adventure that marvelously combines player freedom with shiny technical polish. More »
Hitman: Absolution is a sprawling, satisfying game that offers dozens of vicious possibilities with each new scenario. More »
Like most Mario games, it never stops feeling fun. More »
Black Ops II feels great to play, especially when futuristic weapons are involved, yes-but it also makes you think. More »
It offers a continuation of the World of Warcraft experience, but at this point that experience just isn't quite enough. More »
Medal of Honor Warfighter is slipshod, uninspired, unpolished, and unfun. More »
007 Legends is not only terrible a homage to James Bond, but it's a mediocre shooter too.
Skylanders Giants, like Spyro's Adventure before it, gives collecting colorful pieces of plastic a purpose. It's a chimerical combination of two passions, and hey, the kids seem to dig it. More »
Forza Horizon lets down its parent brand's hair and gives you the fantasy lifestyle of racing gorgeous cars in the prime of your life. More »
XCOM: Enemy Unknown takes a classic PC strategy game, improves it then makes it playable for console owners as well. More »
Where most games have strict rules and guidelines, Dishonored has suggestions. Suggestions that it encourages you to mess around with at every turn. Blending the do-what-you-want structure of Deus Ex with the masterful world design of BioShock, this game is really something special. More »
NBA 2K13 serves the flashiest sport and sports lifestyle in North America with rich gameplay and deep career modes. More »
The interesting changes in this Resident Evil can't save it from feeling bloated and boring. More »
You have to catch all the things, and revisiting old friends and exploring the aftermath of events two years prior is an entertaining way to do it. More »
With a mix of familiar MMORPG tropes and new, modern approaches to delivering them, Guild Wars 2 is an excellent, welcoming take on the genre. More »
A fresh style, new stages to tear apart, and expansive story / training mode and solid online play, this is a Dead or Alive sequel that's finally worth its new number. More »
Torchlight II is a sprawling, ambitious game that does one thing very, very well. It gives you a world you'll want to explore, filled with enemies you'll love to destroy. More »
Borderlands 2 is a charming, funny, hell of a cooperative game with lots of style and personality that you can spend hours with. More »
It is one of the most unique games to come out of Japan in the last decade. More »
NHL 13's skating and AI refinements make it a very lifelike, very strategic interpretation of a real-world sport long abused by the speed and power of video games. More »
The offline action represents one of the best Tekken games in years and the online portion is promising, though it still needs to be properly tested by hordes of players. More »
For a real-time physics engine that keeps you in the action, and a brilliant career mode that unites players of all levels of interest. More »
It's the grown up version of grabbing a bunch of Transformers from your toy box and acting out the final days of their doomed home world. More »
Like putting on your favorite sweatshirt or curling up in bed and re-reading a great book, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a familiar, warm, comfortable story. More »
Although the game is entertaining and fun to play, the sheer number of bugs encountered in the PS3 edition really need a patch. We're waiting for confirmation on if the Xbox 360 and PC versions are plagued with the same issues or not. More »
Sleeping Dogs is both great at making a beautiful Hong Kong your playground, as well as portraying the drama hidden in its streets. More »
It's a nice change of pace to see an MMORPG in a modern setting, the class-free leveling is nice, and the attention to story, detail, and setting are fantastic. More »
Spec Ops: The Line is a considered and thought-provoking game that deserves to be experienced for its flaws as well as for its successes. More »
Despite a heavy reliance on traditional massively-multiplayer role-playing mechanics, Tera's addictive active combat system is a breath of fresh air in a relatively stagnant genre. More »
Slicing up zombies with a chainsaw is incredibly fun, and you get to experience endearingly stupid humor fighting in boss battles. More »
If you want an engaging open-world RPG with action combat to spend way too many hours playing, there are plenty that do what Dragon's Dogma fails to. More »
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier can feel a bit ungainly, but for the most part it successfully balances stealth, tactics and all-out action. More »
The action role-playing game that launched a thousand clones remains the most viscerally entertaining way to click your mouse several hundred thousand times. More »
This unrelentingly grim thriller boasts great storytelling, sharply implemented mechanics and inventive multiplayer. It's the total package. More »
More than just demonstrating some truly spectacular superpowers in an open world, you're doing them with a great character, James Heller, even if the game's story doesn't take any risks. More »
Fez is more than just adorable. It's a world that makes you want to explore every corner, and solve every obscure puzzle. More »
Despite its many flaws, Xenoblade is a great fix for MMO junkies and sidequest nuts. This is a world you'll want to breathe in. More »
If gameplay upgrades are a key demand made by consumers of annual sports titles (ones rarely fulfilled) then Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13's improved swing control, by itself, makes the title recommendable. More »
It's a tedious, uninspiring mess that neither pleases the franchise's old fans nor appeals to a new audience. More »
The three-part chaos is fun but there's not enough to make this Resident Evil feel like something you need to experience. More »
The drama might be lessened but the fighting engine is has improved significantly and the character roster ridiculously huge. More »
It's still the only Major League Baseball game on the Xbox 360. That's not a hell of an endorsement, but MLB 2K12 is an improvement over MLB 2K11 in gameplay. Its visuals are plainly a disappointment, though. More »
Technically, it's a smooth next step in a well-loved franchise and narratively, it's still haunting me days after finishing. More »
Street Fighter X Tekken brings together two of the greatest fighting game franchises of all time in a game that's incredibly accessible to new players. More »
It takes all the best things from old-school RPGs and brings them into a modern format. More »
Journey is a gorgeous, meditative game that combines disciplined design, cutting-edge technology and beautiful art into something remarkable and moving. More »
A beloved extreme sports franchise gets rebooted with realism and asynchronous online play. More »
The unusual combination of storytelling styles, along with the vibrant and detailed art design, make this short experience worth the while. More »
Syndicate challenges your brain's flexibility in chaotic situations, while testing your ability to adapt to new threats. More »
It's like being the Game of Thrones. You build castles and invade Kingdoms, but you also get to bang courtiers and humiliate that disappointment of a son you banished to Wales. More »
For mixed martial arts fans, it's an astoundingly deep offering that could be the only game you play for long stretches. For fighting game fans, there are enough symmetries in its gameplay to make the introduction into a simulation sports title. More »
After all these years it's still the best the vehicle combat genre has to offer. More »
The allure of a portable Uncharted game is strong, but Golden Abyss feels for the most part like a cut-rate version of 2007's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. More »
The four-arm action is the only interesting thing about this game. And you can get that, and a better overall experience, in the original game. Everything else feels like a step backwards. From a game that came out five years ago. More »
It's an extremely well-crafted action role-playing experience with all the bells and whistles fans of the genre crave and countless hours of quality hack-and-slash entertainment in a fully-realized new fantasy world. More »
The core fighting remains as sharp as ever and gets tweaked with interesting changes. Also: you can fight a furry, or be a furry. More »
It improves upon Final Fantasy XIII in nearly every way. More »
It's a superb Resident Evil game and easily one of the 3DS' most impressive games. More »