Shacknews - Steve Watts

Those who have been to an awkward middle school party know that "Spin the Bottle" is a classic party game and cooties propagator. The name (and loosely, the concept) has been co-opted by developer Knapnok Games, which is tailoring it as a Wii U game much more innocent than its roots might imply.

Knapnok designer Lau Korsgaard told Joystiq that the game was inspired by the Wii U hardware's second-screen functionality. He says putting everyone's attention on a screen is a "party killer," but sitting in a circle around the smaller screen is more social. Each activity is built around two-person interactions. "Waltz" has players dance while holding a Wii remote between their faces. "Hide the Monkey" has a pair hide the remote so the audience can guess who is holding it, but the remote makes noise when moved.

"I am super fascinated by these games which are innocent for kids to play but become slightly awkward when teenagers and adults try," Korsgaard said. "So yeah, the game will be clean and totally safe for parents to let their kids play. Whether the parents should play the game with their friends is a totally different question."

Shacknews - Steve Watts

One of the longest-lasting and highest-selling game consoles of all time is finally preparing for retirement. Sony has stopped shipping the PlayStation 2 in Japan, leaving only the current stock on shelves left to sell before the hardware is unavailable at retail.

The console originally launched on March 4, 2000 across the Pacific, giving the PS2 a more-than-12 year life cycle. Over those years, the console has sold approximately 150 million units. With Famitsu's report on the console's ceased production (via Ars Technica), it's clear that the days of being able to walk into a store and pick up a brand new PS2 are numbered.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Well, that was quick. Yesterday's retail leak seemed like pretty strong indication that the impending Tomb Raider reboot would include some multiplayer action. Today, a magazine cover has confirmed that you'll be raiding tombs online.

OXM revealed that its next cover story is explicitly about Tomb Raider's multiplayer modes, promising details on "the new modes and info on who you'll be playing as." Yesterday's leak mentioned a variety of multiplayer modes, and factions as Lara's shipmmates and Yamatai's scavengers. While the confirmation didn't share any new details on the modes, at least we know for certain that it's true.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

There's a lot to be excited for in 2013, and the Shacknews staff each have five games on their radar. The editorial team at Shacknews outlines their most anticipated games of 2013 individually. Next up, we've got senior editor Andrew Yoon with his list of next year's titles.

First off, let me just say that any game that was in my list for 2012 that didn't come out yet is disqualified. Sorry, BioShock Infinite and Ni no Kuni. I still want you for all the same reasons.


The Last of Us

The Last of Us made quite an unexpected debut at the VGAs. Coming fresh off the release of Uncharted 3, my first reaction was: "oh, that's why Uncharted 3 wasn't all that great." Yes, it's a cynical response, but UC3 failed to live up to the expectations of UC2. Perhaps it was the rushed development cycle, or the lack of surprise in Drake's third adventure.

With much more time poured into The Last of Us, and a new setting and tone unlike anything we've seen from Naughty Dog so far, I can't help but be cautiously optimistic for this zombie apocalypse.


DmC: Devil May Cry

I still don't understand the outrage at Dante's new look. (How is it "more gay" than this?) And while I can understand fears surrounding new developer Ninja Theory, I think Capcom's made a smart decision to reboot the franchise. Yes, Heavenly Sword was rather mediocre, but given it was a launch title on a notoriously difficult platform to work on, I think that can be overlooked. The team's next effort, Enslaved, was one of the most overlooked gems of this generation. With Capcom's internal team providing feedback, I feel like DmC: Devil May Cry can focus the obvious talent at the Cambridge studio and make something truly special.

Giving the franchise a reboot is really a no-lose situation for fans, too. Best case scenario: we get a Devil May Cry game that's fresh and full of surprises, unlike Devil May Cry 4. Worst case scenario: we can just play through Devil May Cry 3 again.


Beyond: Two Souls

Heavy Rain has not a perfect game. In fact, it was terribly flawed. Yet, I can't help but appreciate what it tried to do. While gamers have recently complained about the lack of meaningful choice in Mass Effect 3 and even The Walking Dead, Heavy Rain made good on its promise of offering a truly interactive narrative. In the weeks following Quantic Dream's release, gamers everywhere shared their stores, many wildly different from each other.

Beyond: Two Souls takes the spirit of Heavy Rain and addresses its main flaws head-on. Namely, having a talented actress like Ellen Paige should alleviate some of the issues we had with the performances in Quantic Dream's last game. Add a revamped graphics engine, a humbled David Cage, and a rather unique premise, and this could be PS3's other swan song.


Pikmin 3

The original Pikmin was good. But Pikmin 2 was extraordinary, offering a distinctly Nintendo take on the RTS genre. If there's any genre that can fully take advantage of Wii U's touch-screen GamePad, it's strategy. The long-awaited Pikmin 3 doesn't need to do much: it just needs to incorporate some intuitive touch controls into an already-solid gameplay formula. Nintendo will have to go out of their way in order to screw this up, and I just don't see that happening.


Tearaway

Not much is known about Media Molecule's first Vita game. But, there's good reason to be excited: Tearaway is the studio's first original IP since graduating from LittleBigPlanet. If anyone can figure out a "killer app" for Sony's struggling handheld, it's going to be this team.


Oh, and Persona 5...

Shacknews - Steve Watts

If you've missed out on Telltale's The Walking Dead, today might be a good chance to catch up. The holiday week's rolling deals on the Xbox Live Marketplace have reduced the cost of the entire season to ten bucks, less than half the price of buying each episode individually at full cost.

The Major Nelson blog outlined how it works. As previously reported, the first episode is now completely free. If you get that taste and want some more, all subsequent episodes are $2.50 (200 MSP) each. That means you can spring for every episode for a total of $10 (800 MSP), or finish out the season if you haven't yet.

Like the other daily deals on XBLM, this one will expire soon. For Xbox 360 players, this is probably preferable to the notoriously buggy retail disc.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Boo! Oh goodness, whatever could that frightful creature be? It's pale and dressed in black like a dracula, but tall like a frankenstein! Why, it must be a Slender Man, them fellas off the Internet with the supernatural power to make teenage boys squeal into their webcams. Whilst we were all rolling around drunk on brandy, a trailer for Slender: The Arrival surfaced, teasing the horrors you'll flee from.

Slender: The Arrival is made by Parsec Productions, creator of the first big Slender Man game Slender: The Eight pages, with Blue Isle Studios and the folks behind mythos-expanding web series Marble Hornets. Like any Slender 'em up, you'll be wandering through spooky areas, trying not to invoke the wrath of the big fella who makes cameras go wonky. The Arrival will include Marble Hornets elements like funny little Slender minions too.

It's far from the only Slender 'em up in the works, mind. Various folks are working on mobile games, spin-offs, and inspired-bys, including Slender Man's Shadow and HL2 mod Faceless.

Slender: The Arrival is due on PC in "early 2013." Hit the official site for more information.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

The Humble Indie Bundle 7 launched last week, packing four full games, two extras for beating the average, and a movie. If you passed up on that deal, though, the bundle may tempt you back today with the addition of three more games.

Today, the bundle added The Basement Collection, Cave Story +, and Offspring Fling, plus all of their associated soundtracks. The Basement Collection is itself a compilation of experimental games from Team Meat's Edmund McMillen, including Triachnid, Coil, the original Meat Boy, Aether, Grey-Matter, Spewer, and Time Fcuk.

Like Dungeon Defenders and Legend of Grimrock, those games and musical selections are reserved for those who pay above the average, which currently stands at approximately $6.50.

The Humble Bundle 7 also includes Snapshot, The Binding of Isaac with Wrath of the Lamb DLC, Closure, Shank 2, and Indie Game: The Movie. It expires next Wednesday.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

In the wake of the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut, violent video games have come under increased scrutiny. Electronic Arts, which entered a promotional arrangement with some weapons manufacturers to promote Medal of Honor: Warfighter, has since removed links to the companies from its site.

A New York Times report (via Polygon) detailed the marketing partnership between EA and the McMillan Group and Magpul, which manufacture a sniper rifle and high-capacity magazines, respectively. The Warfighter partners site has left the logos for the brands displayed, but removed the links to the online catalogs. "We felt it was inappropriate and took the links down," said EA representative Jeff Brown.

In a separate statement, EA compared the arrangement to film producers, saying publishers "frequently license the images of people, sports franchises, buildings, cars, and military equipment," but did not receive payments for using the brands.

Shacknews - Ryan Calavano

Ah it's the end of the year, time to get your game of the year list dwindled down, argue that 2012 was the best or worst gaming year ever and, of course, look ahead to 2013. Here at Shack we take our time bestowing our GOTY, so first, we look ahead to our most anticipated games of 2013. The list so far includes Grand Theft Auto 5, The Last of Us, Beyond: Two Souls, Deadpool, South Park: The Stick of Truth, LEGO City Undercover, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, BioShock Infinite, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Star Wars 1313, and Rayman Legends citing "it might actually make meaningful use of the (Wii U) GamePad peripheral instead of simply using it as a second screen."

You can also watch this episode on YouTube. And, don't forget to subscribe to get the latest episodes as they go up.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Forza Horizon is revving up for the next of its monthly car packs, the January "Recaro" pack. It will be coming next Tuesday, January 1, to help you ring in the new year in style. It's part of the pricey Season Pass too, so if you've already paid you can just watch the cars roll in.

The pack includes a 2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV, 1983 GMC Vandura G-1500, 2012 Lotus Exige S, 2012 Lexus LFA Nurburgring Edition, 2005 Mercedes-Benz SLR, and a 1995 Ford Mustang Cobra R. If you're getting your hands on the pack through the Season Pass, you'll also get the 2009 Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster as a bonus car. If you didn't get the pass, you can still get the pack for $5 (400 MSP) without the Pagani.

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