After five years with the team, Sony Computer Entertainment America PR man Jeff Rubenstein recently left the company. In leaving, though—or at least for being there for five years before he left—we get a chance to see something neat.
Behold, SCEA's five-year service reward/award. Sure, five years doesn't sound long, but in a world where people jump careers like Mario jumps flagpoles, five years is forever. And this sure beats a gold watch.
It's also an improvement from Sony's previous five-year award, which was a clock. A clock that looked like something you'd get from SkyMall.
Jeff Rubenstein [Twitter]
Danish studio IO Interactive, as the creators of the series, have been doing Hitman games forever. But the next Hitman game, the one after Absolution, won't be made by them. And it won't be like other Hitman games, either.
No, the next Hitman game, in development at new studio Square Enix Montreal, sounds like it could be something a little fresher.
"We've been talking about these similarities to some of the big movie franchise like Aliens, where everyone's doing it their own way", Hitman: Absolution director Tore Blystad told OPSM. "Every time someone gets their hands on a franchise they do something different. So rather than doing the same thing again you get another take on the character from a fresh perspective".
"...it's the first time you could say Hitman has gone out of the house," he adds. "Luckily it's with someone we know. Some of the key developers came from IO and have been working on previous games so it's not like it's in completely new hands".
So it's mostly in new hands. Can't see a problem with a change in developers and tone. People seem to be excited about Metal Gear: Rising, for example, so maybe whatever Square Enix Montreal can come up with will be as wacky as that.
I had a very strange thing happen to me this week. I went back and re-played a game I hadn't previously enjoyed. Only this time, a year removed from my first experience, I actually enjoyed it.
The game in question was Assassin's Creed Revelations. With Assassin's Creed III out this week, and being a fan of the game's fiction (if not the modern-day stuff's wooden presentation), I figured I'd give the thing a second chance, if only so I'd be up to speed on events for the beginning of ACIII.
I'm glad I did, because a year later, the thing that had put me off first time around—the derivative nature of Revelations—wasn't really an issue. In 2011, I'd pulled the pin around three hours in, because it had been so damn similar to the entry in the series before it, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. The side-missions, the weapons, the perks, the whole thing. Constantinople felt like a re-skin of Rome, just without the horses. I'd only just played this game! I got bored, saw other games around I'd rather be playing, and that was that.
Yet when I started playing it again this week, that wasn't a problem. Because I hadn't really played it last year, it had now been two years since I'd sunk too much time into Brotherhood, and my Assassin's Creed fatigue had abated. I could enjoy the little things about the game again; the new city, the historical fetishism, the face-stabbing, the superb voice-acting. By the time I'd finished the game I'd go so far as to say that, surprising even myself, I'd loved it.
While this made me happy I could enjoy the thing again, and be primed for ACIII, it also made me feel a little guilty. How many other great games had I disliked or failed to fully appreciate over the years that hadn't been given such an opportune chance for redemption? I thought back to Fallout 3, which had bored me since I'd still been playing Oblivion right up until the point it had been released, so Washington's wastelands and inhabitants felt strangely all-too-familiar. Maybe now, a few years on, it's worth another shot (or maybe not, since in a post-Skyrim world it might feel even worse).
What about you? Is there a game, whether it be an RPG, shooter or even sports title, that you once dismissed as being just another version, or a tired update, that you might now be able to go back and enjoy?
We're here to help. We've covered a ton of gift-buying options, from games on various platforms to specific price ranges to help make things convenient. We have both editor-suggested gifts as well as reader submissions in each of the post discussions below. Feel free to share more if you missed out, or use these guides to help guide your buying needs.
And happy holidays!
Ah, the holidays. That time of year where your wallet is empty and your belly is full. It's a trade-off I'm willing to make. Especially if it means we get our hands on some delightful goodies, some perhaps gaming related!
But what do you get that special PC gaming enthusiast in your life? More »
Just because the holidays are coming up doesn't necessarily mean you have to get crazy gifts for everyone. What if you want a quality gift for a non-terrorizing price?
Downloadable games, accessories, art prints? More »
Just cause someone doesn't play games as regularly as you do doesn't mean they wouldn't be up for a friendly introduction. So what do you get that one friend, cousin, sibling, aunt?
Watch out for our editors chiming in down below, but share your ideas with everyone, too! More »
Ok, yes: there are some people in your life who don't share your love for panels and word balloons. Yet you want them to feel the joy of getting you just the right gift. More »
We've shared some PC gift suggestions-from keyboards to games-and gifts that will cost you under $25. But today we want to suggest games and accessories to match an Xbox 360.
Our editors are chiming in below, but feel free to post suggestions. More »
You know the friend. The one that has bought and seemingly played every game before you can even launch Steam to purchase that new title. You know the one. More »
Does your gaming friend or relative have a PlayStation 3? Maybe you want to buy them one. But even if they already do own Sony's home console, your friend, relative or puppy (don't judge) might need some new games.
So what will it be? More »
If your friend is a handheld fiend, they may just own a Nintendo 3DS, DS, or Xl version of either.
What would you get them? The circle pad pro? A new game? More »
The holiday gift guides continue! What gift ideas do you have that range from $26-$100? As opposed to the more cost effective suggestions we shared yesterday, these might be for a closer friend.
We'll be sharing down in the discussions below, but feel free to drop your own suggestions. More »
Oooo who is that special someone you're planning on buying such lavish gifts for?
Whoever it is, they're lucky! There are definitely a wide array of fancy gaming gift options. More »
Here we have yet another handheld gamer, and the Vita gamer needs holiday love, too. Perhaps more so than any other gamer, since the pickings are still somewhat (at least relatively) slim. More »
Meet Mii Aihara. She got her start working at a Mia Cafe, a maid cafe in Tokyo's geek district Akihabara. But somewhere along the line, she started appearing in military toy gun mags and showing up at survival games. Before she knew it, she was a gun nut.
In 2009, she acquired her first airsoft gun and the following year, she got a permit to own a shotgun. She not only poses with assault rifles in camo bikinis, but she even dresses up as video game and anime characters and fires said weapons.
Aihara isn't just an idol, she's a "Military Idol" (aka a "Milidol") or a "Sniper Idol" (aka a "Snidol"). She seems to be a good shot! Check out her videos, courtesy of Hyperdouraku (via Rocket News) in the above gallery. She unloads round after round at a shooting range in Guam. Apologies for the pantyshots!
This is niche stuff. But in Japan, a segment of otaku (geek) culture is very interested in military weapons and outfits. Otaku aren't only video game and anime related; there are military otaku shops in Akihabra and Den-Den Town, which is Osaka's version of Akihabara. It is possible to own hunting rifles and shotguns in Japan (handguns are outlawed), but regulations are incredibly strict. Thus, gun enthusiasts and military otaku often collect replicas or airsoft guns. Hardcore enthusiasts even visit places Hawaii or Guam to fire real weapons. This is the segment of geekdom Aihara has in her sights.
If you do love guns and are ever in Akihabara, Aihara still works as a maid in Akihabara. Maid by day, deadly sniper by night!
Everyday, heading straight home after work
This, it seems, makes you appear like your offline life is dull!
Without exception, always eating mom's home cooking
Many Japanese adults live with their parents until they get married. However, always eating what your mom cooks, instead of going out, makes it apparently seem like you have a Mother Complex. "You don't eat with your friends?" asked a 20-something year-old woman who participated in the survey.
Playing pachinko all the time
"Always gambling means that he doesn't have any friends," said another 20-something female. Gambling, while popular, is generally seen as a bad trait.
Playing video games at home until late at night
"It's like he seems like such a good guy, doesn't he have anything better to do?" asked one, while video games were described as "child-like" by many of those polled. However, Otome Sugoren was quick to point out that many ladies do like video games, so they probably would not have an issue with this.
Drinking with other unpopular guys
Or maybe the male co-worker likes these other guys? Maybe they're all really popular? With each other? Don't be so judgmental, Otome Sugoren readers!
Frequenting hostess bars and other night spots
"It's sad when a guy can't talk to girl unless he pays her money," said a 20-something year-old female. Many others said this was a waste of money.
Going to game centers or karaoke alone
Not only does this seem "sad", but one even called it "scary". Otome Sugoren points out that some people enjoy going to karaoke or game centers alone (I do!), but added that it might be a good idea to occasionally go with friends.
Getting totally shitfaced drunk alone
Somehow, I don't think the issue here is not being popular...
Obviously, not every Japanese female would agree with these—some of them might even be guilty of one, or more, of them.
Itasha (痛車), literally "painmobile", are cars covered with anime, manga, or video game themed stickers. This Delorean is wrapped in Japanese anime Haiyore! Nyaruko-san and was on display at a recent itasha gathering in Tokyo's Odaiba.
If you are going to build an itasha, why not do it with style? Besides, the stainless-steel construction makes the stickers stand out.
Below are photos of the nerd-coated vehicle, courtesy of Carlife Navi.
Love that Back to the Future font for Haiyore! Nyaruko-san.
「這いよれ！ニャル子さん」のデロリアン [Carlife Navi]
Gundam models are called "Gunpla" (ガンプラ) in Japanese. And at this year's Gunpla Expo, there were plenty of them. The event, which runs until November 25 in Tokyo's Akihabara, not only showcases upcoming models, but also the work of master Gunpla builders and famous fans. Let's have a look.
Some of these are actually entries hoping to be selected to represent Japan in the 2012 Gunpla Builders World Cup, which is like the World Cup of Gundam Models. Countries from all over the world square off to see who has made the best Gunpla.
Many of the other, more colorful and customized ones in the above gallery were designed by Japanese celebs, including pop group 9nine, members of idol group SKE48, musician Taku Takahashi of m-flo fame, DJ Love, and more. These models are Bandai's way of saying, "Hey, Gunpla isn't only for old dudes!" Though, it does often seem that way. Events like this, however, can help change the perception of Gunpla. (So can eight year-old girls who build amazing Gundam models!)
Click the lower corner of each image to expand to full size.
According to Asahi News, Weigle and another service member went to a manga cafe at midnight last night, which was well past their curfew.
As of October, due to a horrible incident in Okinawa, all U.S. service members station in Japan are subject to a curfew.
Authorities say that Weigle was intoxicated, and took off his clothes in the booth he had rented at the comic cafe. Then, at around 3am, he apparently began walking around the manga cafe in the buff and even allegedly urinated in the cafe, causing the manga cafe staff to call the cops.
"I did urinate in the cafe," Weigle is quoted as telling authorities later, "but I didn't get completely nude." When police arrived on the scene, Asashi reports that the officer discovered Weigle out of uniform and completely nude.
Weigle is stationed on the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, which entered port on November 20.
漫画喫茶で全裸、店内で放尿… 原子力空母乗組員の米兵逮捕 [Yahoo! Japan]
Hot Toys has all the super heroes of The Avengers covered with their amazing line of highly-detailed figures, but what about plain old regular heroes?
Here's one. Everyone's favourite super dork, Agent Phil Coulson.
Available in June 2013 for $175, he comes with all kinds of super accessories like a...folder. And his Captain America trading cards.
Hot Toys Agent Phil Coulson [Sideshow]