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Posts tagged ‘Gaming’


‘Destiny’ is getting microtransactions, but don’t panic yet

Destiny is getting microtransactions. Unlike item cool-downs or the obnoxious stuff that’s intrinsic to all those Facebook distractions that clog up your news feed, however, these purchases aren’t game-impacting. No, come October 13th they’ll take the form of emotes and other cosmetic items. Developer Bungie stresses repeatedly that these will not impact your performance in any way should you not buy them. “You won’t lose a Crucible (adversarial multiplayer) encounter or fail to clear a raid because you didn’t have the right” emote equipped, the blog post says.

What’s more, the former Halo-house is giving everyone some free silver — the new in-game currency used for microtransactions — to see what’s what. Bungie says that there’s going to be more of an emphasis on world events and feature requests moving forward as well. What’s more, Kotaku‘s sources say that instead of focusing on expansion packs like the developers previously have with “House of Wolves” and the recently launched “The Taken King,” we should expect to see more quests and missions doled out for free, with Destiny 2 (not 2.0) launching next fall. Those free updates should happen “every few months.” For a rundown of our experience with the last Destiny expansion, give the Playdate video below a spin.

Playdate: Taking on The Taken King in 'Destiny'

Via: Kotaku

Source: Bungie


Confessions of a ‘Rock Band 4’ drum queen

“Drums are hard.”

That was the verdict from my boyfriend after a raucous night playing Rock Band 4 with a group of friends. He’s a guitarist, in both the physical and digital realms, and to him, Rock Band 4‘s drums are an anomaly. The rhythms are somehow tricky and repetitive at the same time; landing the bass pedal takes nearly perfect timing; it’s a big rig that requires big motions; and the entire instrument takes a ridiculous amount of coordination. This is why my boyfriend doesn’t enjoy playing the drums in Rock Band 4 — and it’s precisely why I love it. Slideshow-324545

Drums are the best instrument in Rock Band 4. Hands-down, straight-up and sideways. To start with, drums are the most “real” instrument in the game, in the sense that banging on those rubber pads may actually help you play the drums in real life. It’s not an ideal teacher, but the heart of the instrument lies in hand-foot coordination and keeping a steady rhythm, which are the exact traits that Rock Band 4 emphasizes. The game isn’t going to teach you proper technique, but it drills in important foundations and even makes them fun to learn. Besides, playing the drums for an hour is a great upper-arm and lower-leg workout (provided you swap the bass pedal between your right and left sides).

The same real-life transference doesn’t apply to guitar — this isn’t Rocksmith, after all — although Rock Band 4‘s lead and bass tracks do provide a lineup of accessible finger exercises. As for the microphone, let’s be honest: Singing in Rock Band has always been fun, but a cat in heat would probably score the same as Christina Aguilera in most difficulty settings. Rock Band 4 proudly carries on this tradition.

To be fair, I’m probably predisposed to preferring drums. Before settling on the saxophone, I took a year of drums in elementary school and I’ve never quite satisfied that persistent itch to pick up a pair of sticks again. I’m also a former high school marching band section leader (tenor sax, represent), and the drums’ bass-pedal coordination requirements are a wonderful throwback to my first marching lessons, reminding me how to separate foot from fingers.

There are other, less practical reasons the drums truly rule in Rock Band 4. While landing a complicated streak on guitar is satisfying, it can’t quite compare to pounding out a perfect rhythm on the drums. You not only see your success on the screen, but also hear it directly on the instrument, right in front of you in the physical world. This is what makes players feel like real rock stars — not pressing buttons on the neck of a stringless, silent guitar or screeching into a microphone, but banging out a solid, consistent rhythm on a living-room drum set. That’s musical magic.

Even my drum-averse boyfriend agrees on this front. As he puts it, “It’s fun to hit things.” And it’s true, being encouraged to smack something with a pair of sticks is incredibly gratifying; plus it plays into the “real-life rock star” element of the game. However, that satisfying smacking sound comes with one potential downside.

We recently moved into a condo that shares a hallway with seven other units, containing everything from young families to retirees who seem to constantly have delicious food in the oven, and I’m a tad paranoid about the sounds that escape our door. I don’t want to be the noisy neighbor or the reason someone’s daughter can’t get to sleep on a school night. I’m acutely aware of every single tap that my sticks make on the hard rubber drumheads. So far, we haven’t received any complaints (fingers crossed). Either way, my sense of fun always wins out: I’m aware and I’m paranoid of the noise, but I’m not going to stop playing. I’m a rock star, damn it.

Let’s be clear here: I’m not saying that the drums are the best part of Rock Band 4. They’re simply the best instrument. The best part of Rock Band 4 is hanging out with a bunch of friends as they embarrass themselves at the helm of toy instruments. It’s the laughter when someone on vocals gets a solo and they break down in nervous giggles and weird yodeling (and still end up with a perfect score). It’s pretending to be a rock star on tour in a band composed of your closest buddies, though ideally with less gas station food (but perhaps just as much booze).

Besides, I’m glad that not everyone agrees with my preference. This way, I don’t have to fight my boyfriend for the drumsticks.

<a href=”″>What’s your Rock Band instrument of choice?</a>


Soon you’ll be able to remap your Xbox One controller’s buttons

Xbox One Controller

Xbox One users will be able to transplant one button’s function to another — without having to stump up money for a fancy new Elite controller. While that controller costs $150 (with other reasons that might warrant a purchase), Mike Ybarra, Microsoft’s Director of Program Management, replied to a user to announce that new config options will come to all controllers soon — something that is already possible on the PS4’s standard peripheral. We’d wager that the settings will coming alongside that tasty Xbox 360 backwards compatibility feature, coming this November.

Via: Polygon

Source: Twitter


Rare shows the ‘Conker’ game that never was

'Twelve Tales: Conker 64' in prototype form

If you know your Rare history, you probably know that Conker’s Bad Fur Day began life as a tame, kid-friendly game and evolved into the foul-mouthed ‘mature’ title that reached your Nintendo 64. Have you wondered what that original squirrel adventure looked like in action, however? Rare is happy to help. It just posted unreleased footage of the game when it was still known as Twelve Tales: Conker 64. To say that this early version was playing it safe would be an understatement. As you’ll see below, Conker’s companion Berry (aka Berri) wasn’t nearly so sexualized. Meanwhile, the gameplay mechanics involved innocuous things like unicycles and differently-themed hats — no feces monsters here.

The peek helps you get a sense of why Rare pushed Conker in a very different direction. Twelve Tales was going to be just another 3D platformer with a cutesy mascot, and that an especially big problem when Rare’s own Banjo-Kazooie largely covered the same turf. While you could criticize Bad Fur Day for going too far in the other direction and chasing offensiveness for its own sake, the end result at least stood out in a crowded field.

Via: Kotaku

Source: Rare (YouTube)


‘FTL: Faster Than Light’ soundtrack on vinyl looks out of this world

One of the direct results of folks helping Subset Games, the developers of FTL: Faster Than Light, absolutely demolish their Kickstarter goal was hiring Ben Prunty to score the game. And now thanks to iam8bit you’ll soon be able to listen to it on the best sounding format possible: vinyl. The two LP set features some truly incredible artwork from designer Leif Podhajsky, trippy starburst green and black vinyl and a download code. To make sure those atmospheric sci-fi sounds are at their best, the soundtrack was mastered for wax at Telegraph Mastering Studio whose clients include Sufjan Stevens and Steve Aoki among many others. The release is up for pre-order right now, ships early next year and will run you $35 plus the cost it takes to get it to your door. Don’t have a vinyl fetish obsession but still want these tunes? They’re available for $5 over on Prunty’s Bandcamp page.


Source: iam8bit


Cortana won’t help you on Xbox One until next year

If you were hoping to experience Cortana’s most helpful version on your Xbox One this year, you might have to settle for her possible appearance in Halo 5 at the end of the month instead. The virtual assistant won’t make her full debut to owners of Microsoft’s latest console until early next year. Don’t fret though: Redmond spokesperson Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb says that the voice from Master Chief’s ear will be available to folks in the Xbox One’s Dashboard Preview Program later this fall. There’s a joke to be made about rampancy in this news — I’m almost sure of it.

Source: Major Nelson


Microsoft buys 3D physics developer Havok to boost gaming efforts

Microsoft today announced the acquisition of Havok from Intel. Havok makes a 3D physics engine and licenses it to gaming studios; its work has been featured on more than 600 titles, including popular franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Destiny, Dark Souls, The Elder Scrolls and Microsoft’s own Halo. While Microsoft says it is delighted to add Havok’s technologies to its robust portfolio of tools and components for developers, like DirectX 12 and Azure, it did point out that it won’t stop supporting partners going forward. “We will continue to license Havok’s technology to the broad AAA games industry,” Microsoft said in a statement to IGN. “This also means that we will continue to license Havok’s technology to run across various game consoles including Sony and Nintendo.”

Source: Microsoft


Playdate: An introverted journey with ‘The Beginner’s Guide’

Everybody needs a creative outlet — a valve, if you will, to relieve the pressure of modern humanity. What if your outlet was creating video games? And what if a friend of yours compiled the games you made during a specific personal crisis, and distributed them to the world to digest? If they did, you’d have The Beginner’s Guide, Davey Wrenden’s weird, introverted interactive narrative experience. Join me, Tim Seppala and the disembodied voice of Wrenden himself at 6PM ET (3PM PT)on, the Engadget gaming homepage and right here in this post as we explore the mind of a game developer “struggling to deal with something they do not understand.” Fair warning, though: this one is gonna get a little weird. live video from Joystiq on

[We’re streaming The Beginner’s Guide at 720p through OBS, so rest assured this game will look dramatically better on your PC at home.]


‘Super Mario Maker’ crushed my dreams of making video games

“Isn’t this supposed to be fun?” I asked myself over and over again. I knew the answer was “yes,” but I still wasn’t having any. I’d been playing Super Mario Maker, a video game that lets you make your own Super Mario Bros. levels and play them on a real Nintendo console, and I was completely miserable. It didn’t make any sense. I’d dreamed about making Nintendo games since I was 6 years old, but when the company gave me the chance to prove a game design genius lived under my skin, I flopped. It was then that a shocking and heartbreaking realization washed over me: I hate making video games.

My ego didn’t take this realization well. As both a hobbyist gamer and a journalist that covers games, I’ve always humored the little voice in the back of my head that said, “I could do this if I wanted. I could make games.” No, Super Mario Maker has shown me, I can’t — not really. Yes, technically I can construct a stage from set pieces I’ve seen in other Mario games, but I’m not really creating anything. My by-the-numbers Mario levels (a few power-ups to start, some pipes to leap over, maybe a Hammer brother or two and a flagpole at the end) feel more like light plagiarism than original content. Why do I suck at this so much?

Objectively, I knew that my failure to fall in love with Super Mario Maker’s level editor is little more than a simple mismatch with my own creative sensibilities, but the reality of it still bothered me to the core. My self-image has always revolved, in some fashion, around the idea that I am a creative person; Super Mario Maker contradicts that in a way that other DIY game builders never have. When Minecraft’s building mode failed to garner my attention, I easily dismissed it as just “not my thing.” When Disney Infinity‘s sandbox world didn’t spark my interest, I blamed it for having “convoluted” tools that weren’t “straightforward.” I can’t apply these excuses to Super Mario Maker. I love Nintendo’s platforming games and Maker‘s creation toolset is as intuitive as they come. I’m the problem, not Super Mario Maker.

Coming to terms with this was like getting punched in the gut. If I’m not having fun making Mario levels, is that proof that I’m not really the creative-type I see myself as? I couldn’t accept that. “I’m a dang writer,” I told myself. “I’m not going to let some video game throw my personal identity into question.” I scoured the game’s online Course World mode for inspiration from highly rated level designers and poured over Nintendo’s official Super Mario Maker Idea Book, but still wound up with terrible, boring levels that weren’t fun to make or play. In a last-ditch effort, I turned to the internet for help. There, scattered across Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and a dozen gaming forums, I found my answer. This is a skill, not a talent.

My soul settled as I realized my failure wasn’t a lack of creativity, but another belief that closely orbits my fragile sense of self: There’s no such thing as effortless, natural talent — only the gumption to learn and master a skill. Online, I found level designers who had spent hours carefully planning out their stages before they ever touched the Wii U GamePad. They drew them on graph paper; they brainstormed ideas with friends and told stories through level design. My childhood dreams of creating games was merely romantic, but for these people it had been a practical passion. They drew levels on paper; they used other game-making programs; they built up their love for game design as a skill. I didn’t. It’s as simple as that.

It took me awhile to figure out, but Super Mario Maker taught me that game design is a lot like writing. On the surface, it sounds easy — but the truth is that it’s a skill that needs to be pursued, learned and developed. There are unspoken rules that have to be followed, and good writing (or design) requires planning and forethought. Nobody sits in front of a blank sheet of paper unprepared and writes the next great American novel (despite our egotistical assumption that we can), Pulitzer prize-winning essay or, well, award-winning Super Mario Bros. game. It takes practice, experience and passion. I have all of those as a writer, but none of them as a game designer.

I may never be a great game designer, but thanks to Super Mario Maker, a mild reality check and a little more thought than I ever expected to dedicate to a Japanese-Italian plumber, I now have a much better idea what it takes to be one. I think I’ve always known, but it’s nice to be able to consciously recognize it and give the folks who have put the effort into cultivating their skills the respect they deserve.

Playdate: Building the Mushroom Kingdom in 'Super Mario Maker'


Introducing Nokia… wait, Best Buy… no, PlayStation Theatre

With a revolving door of owners, the Best Buy Theatre in Times Square (previously the Nokia Theatre) has been taken over by Sony Computer Entertainment. The newly branded PlayStation Theatre is set to offer live performances and hold events showcasing the latest products on offer. Vice president of marketing John Koller noted “We are looking forward to exploring significant cultural moments at PlayStation Theater.” Let’s hope this one sticks.

Via: Polygon


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