You may not know Alain Poitras' name. But, if you've heard about the quadriplegic gamer who conquered Bronze and Silver challenges in Mass Effect 3, then you're familiar with two of his biggest accomplishments. Poitras answered some e-mail questions about Mass Effect and what it takes for a person with physical disabilities like his to continue playing video games.
Kotaku: What strategies did you use to finish the Bronze and Silver Mass Effect 3 multiplayer runs?
Poitras: I would say, patience and staying in cover. Enemies will find you. Running and moving at the same time for me is to hard to control. On multiplayer, it's different because someone is always there to help you in emergency situation and more comfortable for movement. The goal when you start a solo game or multiplayer is to extract, so take your time and don't run everywhere like a chicken with no head.
Kotaku: Were those runs your biggest gaming achievements? Is there anything else that you've done in games that you're really proud of?
Poitras: At this moment, yes, until Gold or Platinum. I'm really proud with what I've done with ME3.
Poitras: Definitely not. During my rehabilitation, when I started to have better coordination, I went to the computer room to practice (writing, learning software and play pc games). My first pc game was a submarine war game. The occupational therapist modified something (I don't know exactly what) and we were able to play with two big buttons to hit with our hand or wrist. Later, I learned to use my mouth stick and I've found my touchpad mouse.
Kotaku: What was the hardest thing for you to re-learn as you started playing games again?
Poitras: Speed, control and dexterity. At the beginning, I played games like Myst, hidden object, role games, Madden Football, Silent Hunter. Then FPS games, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Skyrim. Also Command & Conquer, Splinter Cell, Civilization and more.
Kotaku: Is there anything about Mass Effect in particular that draws you to it? Either the single-player or multiplayer?
Poitras: Until March 2012, I'd never heard of the game. It was the son and daughter of my friend who introduced me to it. They tell me that I should take a look at it, saying the game was amazing and that there was also a story linking between Mass Effect 1-2 and 3. So, I bought all three games. Wowwww, the story and the gameplay and the extraterrestrial races around the Galaxy really hit me. I finished all three games. ME2 was a nightmare for me because of those 5 dots that you have to link fast to open doors. But I kept playing it and, when I arrived to a door, I saved my games. And, when a friend or my brother came home I asked them to unlock it for me and then I continue until next door. I'd never played too many multiplayer games because of the speed and control required. But, with Mass Effect 3, something inside me told me to give it a try and since then I'm completely addicted to it.
Coming this Thursday to iOS from NotDoppler, Bunny Cannon is a game called Bunny Cannon, which is (perhaps sadly) enough for me to purchase it. Thankfully it looks rather clever as well, for a game that's ostensibly about lying to young rabbits about sex.
Skyrim's next piece of downloadable content, Dragonborn, is out tomorrow for Xbox 360.
Can't wait til then? One person claiming to be a beta tester has sent some screenshots and alleged details about the new DLC to the website TheOuthousers.com. I've asked Bethesda whether or not this stuff is real, and will update if they respond, but for now, here are some of the highlights from the alleged leak.
Potential Dragonborn spoilers follow.
Perhaps the most interesting detail is the list of achievements, which, if real, would confirm the rumor that you can tame and ride dragons in Dragonborn.
- Outlander - Arrive on Solstheim (20 G)
- Raven Rock Owner - Own a house in Raven Rock (20 G)
- Solstheim Explorer - Discover 30 Locations on the island of Soltheim (30 G)
- The Temple of Knowledge - Complete "The Temple of Miraak" (20 G)
- The Path of Knowledge - Complete "The Path of Knowledge" (20 G)
- At the Summit of Apocrypha - Complete "At the Summit of Apocrypha (40 G)
- Hidden Knowledge - Learn the secrets of 5 Black Books (40 G)
- Stalhrim Crafter - Craft an item out of Stalhrim (20 G)
- Dragon Aspect - Learn all 3 words of Dragon Aspect (20 G)
- DragonRider - Tame and Ride 5 dragons (20 G)
According to the leaker, the DLC starts off with cultists coming after you, calling you "the false Dragonborn." You find a note on their bodies that leads you to a ship at Windhelm, which you can then take to Solstheim, the continent brought back from Morrowind. You can then explore and quest your way through the new continent.
The leaker has also got purported lists of some of the new spells, weapons, armor, and locations in Dragonborn.
Head on over to TheOuthousers for the full leak. Or just wait til tomorrow for the actual DLC.
Over the weekend, a Kickstarter for a game called Alpha Colony missed its goal of $50,000 by $28. Twenty-eight dollars!
By Kickstarter's rules, the project should get zero funding, but would they make an exception for a bizarrely unfortunate situation like this? I reached out to Kickstarter this morning to ask.
"That's really, really uncommon," a Kickstarter spokesman told me in an e-mail. "It was a tough finish, but unfortunately we wouldn't bend the rules. Of course, creators can always relaunch a project that was initially unsuccessful."
Bummer. Better luck next time, Alpha Colony.
Now don't get too excited; Zynga is still on the tops of both the gainers and losers charts this week. CityVille 2 added nearly eight million users this week, but I want to talk about the two positions behind that, populated by a pair of games from King.com.
Candy Crush Saga gaining new ground is likely the result of the recently-released mobile app for iPhone and iPad, a wonderful example of cross-platform play, unlike Zynga's shoddy implementation of Ruby Blast on iOS. Pet Rescue Saga, King.com's latest colorful puzzler, gained in the millions as well, proof that the brand is becoming an increasingly major player in the Facebook gaming scene.
Now if you look down one more slot, there's the original FarmVille, gaining a million users while FarmVille 2 loses more than three million. Are players dissatisfied with the sequel coming home to roost?
Yeah, I just wanted to work in "coming home to roost". I feel much better now.
|2.||Pet Rescue Saga King.com||7,400,000||+1,754,373|
|3.||Candy Crush Saga King.com||19,800,000||+1,423,701|
|5.||Dragon City Social Point||15,700,000||+550,039|
|6.||Texas HoldEm Poker Zynga||34,100,000||+449,930|
|7.||Bubble Island Wooga||8,400,000||+428,934|
|8.||Stormfall: Age of War Plarium||1,400,000||+285,273|
|9.||Subway Surfers Kiloo Games||4,600,000||+261,405|
|1.||FarmVille 2 Zynga Inc.||48,100,000||-3,326,840|
|2.||Zynga Slingo Zynga||16,600,000||-1,213,159|
|3.||Bubble Safari Zynga||22,900,000||-977,300|
|4.||The Ville Zynga||9,100,000||-935,391|
|7.||Bingo Island Mytopia||620,000||-606,607|
|8.||Ruby Blast Adventures Zynga||16,800,000||-553,487|
|9.||Zynga Bingo Zynga||3,000,000||-522,901|
|10.||Pirates: Tides Of Fortune Plarium||460,000||-479,012|
Want to keep track of these on your own? Visit AppStats, where they obsessively stare at Facebook statistics all day long.
Oddworld Inhabitants' cult hit has enjoyed a fresh wave of re-appraisal ever since HD remakes for the game popped up recently. There's been a Vita version in the works, but a previously stated mid-November release date has come and gone. Now dev studio Just Add Water has tweeted that the shinier version of Stranger's Wrath will hit Sony's portable in about two weeks.
PS3 owners who've already bought the game will apparently need to buy it again, though.
Last week, after I reported on Nick Reineke's ban from YouTube's AdSense service because of an over-zealous fan, two strange things happened.
The first: just a few minutes after the story ran, Reineke sent me an e-mail to say that YouTube had reinstated his AdSense account. They didn't say a word; he just found that his account suddenly worked again.
The second: people started contacting me with their own stories. YouTubers who had been banned from AdSense—almost all for the same exact reason—sent over messages on Kotaku, Twitter, and e-mail to share their tales of woe. It seems to be a common problem, and once someone is banned from YouTube's advertising service, it seems to be near-impossible to get back on.
I've rounded up a few of their stories here.
YouTube user MrTheVestman:
I can also confirm the same thing the person in the article experienced. I was one of the first to get swept up in their new, more open policy about monetizing. However after a short time I had been banned, with the same reasons as the person in the article. After much digging, I found the same issue had occurred. A subscriber (Later identified) had gone through and shot my clicks from the average 20/day, to nearly 300. I tried multiple times to get it cleared up, but Google doesn't bother with actual customer support, so I never had my account re-monetized. I eventually gave up, as I had recently started freelancing anyways, and had no time to maintain my channel anymore. Glad to see that at least this person had his sorted out.
YouTube user SniperousSnape:
My account was disabled about a month ago after I received an astounding 999 clicks in one day. I thought this was just a glitch by Google, but sure enough they blamed me and took down my account the next day.
YouTube user BitGamerYT:
I had a subscriber that had been clicking on adverts on any video that I posted and within a month from just this one subscriber I had amounted over £1000 from AdSense which at the time I questioned this with Google without reply as I felt something was going very wrong and not knowing at the time as to what was the cause I left it to see what happened. Within a day of the end date I had my account blocked and the same standard emails sent to myself from Google and though I explained I had made contact to say I felt something was going wrong, Google simply said that "after further investigation the account is in breach of Google guidelines" etc.
In the end I gave up and vented on Twitter, where the offending subscriber came forward and said they were only trying to help and do something good for the channel... Though angry, I did make one last attempt to contact Google with this fact and that email went unanswered.
YouTube user Jademalo:
I ran a Minecraft server, and had some ads on the site I also ran. And my brother, being the loving and kind brother he is (with good intentions,) clicked my adverts a few times so I got some money.
I've been banned for over two years, and I appeal every 6 months or so. This is blocking my ability to monetize my YouTube videos, and considering I've got a decent amount of views on a few of them, It's a huge kick in the teeth.
The thing is - I don't even know if it was my brother that triggered it. I'm only assuming that since he was on the same IP as me, but for all I know some of the other people who play on the server could have done it, again, with good intentions (Since they knew I was struggling to afford it.)
This AdSense policy of instant ban forever is a little bit ridiculous, if there was an explination as to why you were banned, or a three strikes policy, or even just a fair warning that there was invalid activity going on, you'd have time to put a stop to it, rather than being banned from AdSense for life.
I mean, I could create a new Google account - but I have Jademalo on everything. It's my identity, and it's the channel I have all the views on. Heck, I'm even using it right now to email you, and I logged in with it to post this same thing as a comment.
It really sucks being knocked down before I even had the chance to get up.
YouTuber user TWILdotTV, formerly thisweekinlinux:
I started making videos on YouTube in December of 2009. I primarily discussed technology-related subjects, surrounding Linux and free/open source software. I immediately set up an AdSense account and tied it to my original domain, http://thisweekinlinux.com, and monetized videos on my "thisweekinlinux" channel on YouTube when they were offered.
In March/April of 2010, my channel began rapidly growing, and in June, I was accepted into the YouTube partner program. I had approximately 2000 subscribers and about 100,000 total video views at the time. By the end of the year, my channel had grown to over 10,000 subscribers and over 1 million video views. Things were going very well, from my point of view.
In June of 2011, I believe I was at 24-25,000 subscribers, and about 3 million total video views, and on June 15th, my AdSense account was banned with the reason of: "your AdSense account
poses a risk of generating invalid activity". Apparently this is a pretty common occurrence, but I wasn't aware of it until then.
I filed my appeal, giving as much information as I could (server statistics, potential issues, etc.). The only thing I could really think of was that I had received a spike in traffic on one day for being featured on a larger blog (traffic was approximately 3-4x what it normally would be). Even then, I was denied.
I reached out to YouTube partner support, and they immediately turned me away. Another person I know who works at Google in the New York office actually went to the AdSense desk there, and they pointed him to the FAQ page for disabled accounts, so I finally gave up the fight.
YouTube user VGReviewUnit:
I applied for Adsense, and a few of my friends decided to help me out by clicking some of the ads on my site. They got a bit overzealous and clicked them once a day for about 10 days. When I asked them to stop as it would be improper traffic and clicks and what not, it was already too late and I had been banned.
YouTube user BraindeadlyWorld, formerly BraindeadlyEU:
I basically had the same problem as the guy you wrote an article about his AdSense being banned because of an over-zealous fan - after wanting to leave Machinima to join Curse for months I finally got out of Machinima and also found out that my AdSense was banned too. I still have no idea why my AdSense was banned, I'm assuming it is someone who wanted to support me and clicked my ads a lot on my website.
I tried appealing 3 times, all attempts were rejected from Google.
From then on I've had to switch from my YouTube channel BraindeadlyEU which had over 43k subscribers to BraindeadlyWorld, which is owned by a close friend but I give videos to him to put there as it's not actually legal for me to post videos there myself technically. It's quite disheartening to me as people on YouTube basically watch videos on auto-pilot/are rather passive, naturally and it's really hard to get people to move over to another channel, so I ended up losing about 70% of my subscribers.
YouTube user Undertwolitre:
I recently had my Youtube adsense banned just as it was due to receive its first payment.
Apparently someone watched an ad on one of my videos a few times in a row so that makes me fraudulent.
"Urgh," grunts Heizy, my wife. "Why are these greasy old men always playing dress up? It's really creepy."
My wife. She doesn't hate video games. She tends to tolerate them. In the ‘pat-me-on-the-head you-have-fun-with-your-little-games' way.
But Mario? She actively hates Mario.
Mario is supposed to be harmless. He's a family friendly plumber with gigantic accessible eyes, dungarees plastered in primary colours, a singing Italian falsetto. It's-a-him! Mario. Your buddy. Wahoo! So kawaii!
"He's just a weird middle-aged man chasing after a pretty blonde princess. I hate him. I hate his stupid moustache."
My wife hates Mario in a way I really can't comprehend. Mario is a person I have zero distance from. I grew up with the guy. He's a family friend. He comes round for BBQs, he's attended my birthday parties for as long as I can remember, he turns up at Christmas; an amicable foreign Uncle bearing gifts. He's a bundle of faux-Italian joy.
But from Heizy's perspective, from the outside looking in, he's the man you warn your children about. An aging, unmarried tradesman with dark, disturbing secrets disguised in a voice that's little too high-pitched, nestled in a moustache that's a little too thick. He harbours an unquantifiable menace. He is not to be trusted.
I don't know how I managed to convince her, but Heizy and I are playing New Super Mario Bros. U together. It's a little experiment. Once she forgets she's controlling a potential criminal tradesman with a dark secret hidden in his face bristles, I think she starts to have fun.
"Stop picking me up!"
I pick her up and throw her around the levels, which I think is hilarious.
It's funny the things we take for granted. Whilst playing Mario, not once do I take my finger off the run button. That feels alien and strange. Mario is supposed to be played at this pace, at this speed. But Heizy is happy to totter around at walking pace. She's in no rush. We almost run out of time in every single level we play.
But I'm having a blast.
"I found that secret, not you. Me!"
I think it's important to point out that this isn't a story about someone who can't play games. It's not about getting my girlfriend into games, which would be even worse. This is not meant to be patronising. This is meant to be a story about what it's like to play Mario alongside someone who actively hates everything Mario stands for. Not from a design perspective, not from any perspective that makes sense in terms of the game itself. No, my wife just hates Mario, for reasons you and I probably haven't thought about or discussed…
Or even dared to imagine.
Mario exists in a strange universe where it's completely fine for a tubby middle-aged man with a moustache to dress up as a bumble bee and get away with it. It doesn't even push the boundaries of our expectations. Some of us even find it cute.
"Why is he dressed up as a BEE? He's an old man!"
I honestly don't know. And I'd prefer not to think about it too deeply thank you very much.
"The princess got kidnapped again, why doesn't he just dump her. She's so stupid. Urgh."
Despite her unique distance, it's interesting just how much Heizy does pick up. She takes the piss out of Mario's ludicrous kidnapped Princess angle, in the same way every bloody web-comic or smartarse comedian does, but it goes beyond that. Despite her lack of experience with Mario, she knows enough to realise that New Super Mario Bros. U isn't exactly the most innovative entry into the series.
"These games are all the same, aren't they?"
Yes, they are. Especially this one. But that's the fun of this little mission. I am playing the most Mario-like game ever made, with the person in my life who most hates Mario.
This will, almost certainly, end well.
The original post, which was posted under the name "Queen", went this way: "After my husband changed jobs, he met a group of World of Warcraft players. Everyday he would come home, turn on the computer, eat, go on the toilet, and then spend hours playing WoW. He would play with his friends and colleagues, and then they would sign off, but he would continue to play.
"When I ask him to go to sleep, he wouldn't, saying he's having too much fun. He said he made his character name "The 18 Panda Men" so that when he kills another player the system would read 'You've been killed by the 18 Panda Men."
"I write this post to declare my hatred for World of Warcraft and I beseech any players who run into my husband to tell him, 'Your Wife Tells You To GO TO BED!'"
After the forum post reached critical mass, the husband eventually found out. Seeing that her post was going too far, she asked the forum moderator to remove the post. According to sources found by the Chinese media, her husband isn't angry.
So, I guess the moral of the story is, if you want any attention from a game "addicted" husband, the best bet is to go on a forum and ask complete strangers to embarrass him.
Hitman: Absolution lets players don a variety of disguises. And now, one of those outfits is the Deus Ex suit. Because if you want to blend into a crowd, what better way to do that than with a futuristic body suit!
The suit not only offers Hitman's Agent 47 better protection, and the "Zenith" gun from Deus Ex is also available as DLC, completing the whole look. Both the Deus Ex Suit and the Deus Ex Zenith are available on Xbox Live for 80 Microsoft Points each and on the PlayStation Network and PC for US$1.00 a pop.
Why stop at Deus Ex, Square Enix? Surely, Agent 47 wants to dress as Final Fantasy characters or even Lara Croft from Tomb Raider.