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Thursday, Jan 31, 2013

  

Steamships Ahoy - Antichamber

Antichamber is now available on Steam, offering this already award-winning puzzle game at a 25% discount between now and February 6th. Want word on the game? Are you ready to have your mind blown? Well? Okay:

Antichamber is a mind-bending psychological exploration game where nothing can be taken for granted. Discover an Escher-like world where hallways wrap around upon each other, spaces reconfigure themselves, and accomplishing the impossible may just be the only way forward.

Several years in the making, Antichamber received over 25 awards and honors throughout its development, in major competitions including the Independent Games Festival, the PAX10, IndieCade and Make Something Unreal. Antichamber was also supported by the Indie Fund.

Steamships Ahoy - Retrovirus

Steam News announces that Retrovirus is now available, and on sale for 10% off over the next week. Here's word on this 6DoF shooter:

Retrovirus is a six degrees of freedom shooter which sends players into the depths of a computer on a search and destroy mission against an invasive virus. Retrovirus is being created by Cadenza Interactive, the indie studio behind the popular tower defense game Sol Survivor.

Painkiller Hell & Damnation Free Weekend

A free multiplayer weekend is now underway on Steam for Painkiller Hell & Damnation, The Farm 51's installment in the Painkiller series of supernatural shooters. Additionally, those who enjoy themselves can buy the damned game on sale for 66% off the regular price on Steam, a discount which also applies to four-packs, the Collector's Edition, and the Complete Pack. Finally, they are resetting the leaderboards so they can reward the top three players for their prowess. Here's word on the festivities:

The multiplayer weekend is open to all, even those who have not yet purchased the game. Nordic Games will also reset the global leaderboards tonight and the global top 3 in "Deathmatch" as of Sunday 1pm PST (10PM CET) will receive some very nice prizes. More details on the prizes will be announced Monday.

THQ Postmortem

MCV outlines what they call "the full story" of the collapse of THQ, the game publisher/developer that was just broken up due to bankruptcy. They hear from Jason Rubin, who served as president of the company during efforts to put it back on course, and he is frank in saying the made "massive mistakes," and that: "There are certainly things to be said about challenges in the mid-tier triple-A publishing business, but I don't think that conflating it with THQ's experience is helpful." Here's a bit of his take on what went wrong:

Unfortunately, the mistakes that were made long before I joined, like the incredible losses attached to uDraw, massive wasted capital in the unpublished MMO that was cancelled, sticking with children's and casual titles far after mobile and tablets had killed the business, bad, late, or otherwise inferior titles like Homefront, and a generally haphazard and inefficient approach to deal making, left the company with too much negative hanging on its books.

Pandora: First Contact Announced

Slitherine and Matrix Games announce Pandora: First Contact, a science-fiction 4X strategy game set on the planet of Pandora, though the potential for this to include unobtainium or dlithium crystals are probably just inferences we're drawing from the title and from watching too many sci-fi movies. As of now they expect to release this at the end of this spring, and signups to beta test are already being accepted on this page. The Pandora: First Contact product page has details and screenshots, and here's a blurb:

Epsom, UK, January 31, 2013 – After decades of exploration, mankind has finally found a new hope. A new planet to conquer and colonize. They call it Pandora. From the frozen ice lands of the north, to vast deserts and lush tropical forests in the south, the planet is vast and hosts a wide variety of eco-regions. It is the perfect last resort for mankind. But it is far from being desolate, with indigenous life already covering the planet, but how will they react to alien invaders?

Pandora: First Contact is the latest science fiction 4X turn-based strategy game published by Slitherine (www.slitherine.com) and Matrix Games (www.matrixgames.com) and developed by Proxy Studios (www.proxy-studios.com). The game follows in the footsteps of classics like Alpha Centauri and Galactic Civilizations, but it also creates a completely new world of its own, with hundreds of creatures, settings, technological innovations and a never-seen-before range of deadly weapons. In development for now more than two years, Pandora: First Contact is something really novel in the genre of civilization-style games.

“We are very excited about this new project”, said Iain McNeil, development director of Slitherine. “This year’s line-up is shaping to be very attractive to a wide range of players and we are proud to bring such an intense, immersive and engaging sci-fi strategy game to our audience worldwide”.

Wildman Trailer

This trailer offers an updated introduction to Wildman to better support the Kickstarter to support the project, and its developer Gas Powered Games. It shows the combination of an action/RPG and an RTS game using concept art and the words of Chris Taylor to outline how gameplay will function. Thanks Seiya. Continue here to read the full story.

Dead Space 3 Story Trailer

The imminent shooter sequel Dead Space 3 has a story, and to make sure we know it, this new trailer lays it out for us. Here's the tease/sales pitch it includes: "Watch the Dead Space 3 Story Trailer now! Take one last look before embarking on your journey through Tau Volantis. Are you ready to take down the terror? Pre-order Dead Space 3 Today!" Continue here to read the full story.

Battlefield 3 End Game Trailer

Game over man! A new trailer from End Game shows off the upcoming fifth expansion for Battlefield 3, the military shooter sequel (thanks BF3blog). The clip shows a dirt bike doing dirty to a helicopter and anything else that gets in its way. Word is: "Witness Capture the Flag gameplay featuring the all-new dirtbike from Battlefield 3™: End Game. End Game is the fifth expansion pack for Battlefield 3, out March 2013." Continue here to read the full story.

Evolved Indie Bundle

Indie Royale now offers sales of The Evolved Bundle, a collection of indie games which have not been previously included in any bundles. Here's the pitch:

Fun indie games are always evolving. If you're searching for the latest in indie gaming, look no further than the Evolved Bundle from Indie Royale. It will give you hours of enjoyment and includes some great recently released games. Featured in this bundle are 5 indie titles, valued at over $55, including last summer's highly rated puzzle solving adventure from Talawa Games, Unmechanical; an atmospheric horror game from Tale of Tales, The Path; the recently released squad based dungeon game, Krater from Fatshark; the full game of the IGF China 2010's winner, Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory from Turtle Cream; and an intricate scrolling puzzler, OIO: The Game from Uncanny Games.

Aliens: Colonial Marines Season Pass Spotted

GameStop has a listing for an Aliens: Colonial Marines Season Pass, an unannounced collection of four upcoming DLC packs for Gearbox Software's upcoming shooter (thanks Polygon). Here's the description:

Hungry for more Aliens: Colonial Marines? Purchase the Aliens: Colonial Marines Season Pass and get access to four downloadable content packages at a 33% discount! All add-on content packs are scheduled to be released from March through to summer 2013. The Aliens: Colonial Marines Season Pass will give you access to campaign content, additional multiplayer maps, new modes, character customization and more!

Op Ed

Eurogamer - Shooters: How Video Games Fund Arms Manufacturers.
While the benefits of using licensed weaponry are clear for the game maker, the benefits to the gun maker - aside from the licence fee - are less obvious. However, just as cigarette companies used confectionery to market their products to children, so gun makers can use video games to increase awareness of their products amongst those too young to buy them. As Vaughn puts it: "Video games expose our brand to a young audience who are considered possible future owners."

GameFront - Dead Space 3′s Microtransactions Set A Dangerous Precedent.
The worst part of all of this is the dangerous precedent it sets. I’m willing to give Visceral Games the benefit of the doubt and believe that Dead Space 3′s crafting resource drop rates aren’t tooled to encourage players to keep their credit card handy. But if the practice of including these kinds of microtransactions becomes commonplace, then it won’t be long before publishers clue into the fact that they can build psychological devices into a game to extort money from players — see Jamie Madison’s blog, The Psychology of Gaming, for frightening insight into how developers can and have manipulated us into playing longer, paying more, and keeping us as repeat customers. There isn’t a wide chasm between a CEO posing the question, “What content in our game can we allow players to pay to skip?” and, “What can we include in the game that players will want to pay to skip?”

Evening Patches

On Sale

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Prank on Modern Art. Thanks Ant.

Console Grand Theft Auto V in September

Rockstar Games announces a September 17th release date for the console editions of Grand Theft Auto V, apologizing for the delay to the open-world action sequel, and saying: "trust us, it will be worth the extra time. GTAV is a massively ambitious and complex game and it simply needs a little more polish to be of the standard we and, more importantly, you require." No announcement has yet been made about a PC edition of the game, but for reference, a Windows version of Grand Theft Auto IV was only first announced a few months after the console editions shipped.

GRiD 2 in May; Preorder Bonuses

Codemasters announces an official release date for GRiD 2, saying the racing sequel should get the green flag in North America on May 28th and May 31st in the U.K., actually beating its previous release window of this summer. They also announce the availability various retail preorder bonuses, providing some screenshots of preorder content. Here's word on the various North American offers:

Gamers who pre-order at GameStop can choose the GRID 2: Turbo-Charged Edition, which includes two additional packs:

McLaren Racing Pack
Receive the exclusive McLaren MP4-12C GT3 Special Edition car to race in single-player, multiplayer and a special online event; plus expand the game with two new routes around the Brands Hatch GP circuit.

GTR Racing Pack
Receive the exclusive Nissan GT-R SpecV road car to race in single-player, multiplayer and an exclusive online event; plus experience all five routes around the Yas Marina circuit by day.

Gamers who pre-order at Best Buy can choose the GRID 2: IndyCar Edition, which includes:

IndyCar Pack
Receive the exclusive Dallara IndyCar and the IndyCar Pace car to race in single-player, multiplayer and an exclusive online event; plus expand the game with two new routes around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval Circuit.

Gamers who pre-order at Amazon can choose the GRID 2: Head Start Edition which includes:

Head Start Pack
Receive the exclusive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 GT car to race in single-player, multiplayer and enjoy discounts in the Car Upgrades Store in online game modes and a unique RaceNet bonus.

BioShock Infinite 'City in the Sky' Trailer

A new trailer from BioShock Infinite shows off more of the first-person shooter sequel in development at Irrational Games. The "City in the Sky" video includes gameplay footage showing off the serenity of the floating city of Columbia which is interrupted by the game's story, resulting in bullets, explosions, and the inexorable pull of gravity. The clip is accompanied by a few new screenshots. Continue here to read the full story.

The Showdown Effect Beta Today

Paradox Interactive announces that closed beta testing will commence today for The Showdown Effect, the 2.5D multiplayer shooter from Arrowhead Game Studios (Magicka). The game will also go on sale later today on this page, and those who pre-order are guaranteed immediate access to the beta, though they are also accepting applications from those willing to leave such things to chance. There's a live stream of the game planned for today at 2:00 pm EST on Twitch, which will show a tournament from PDXCon in Reykjavik, Iceland. Here's word on further bonuses for pre-ordering:

Combatants will also have the chance to size up the competition by watching a tournament of The Showdown Effect, streaming live from PDXCon in Reykjavik, Iceland on January 31, at 4 p.m. GMT (8 a.m. PST) on http://twitch.tv/paradoxinteractive .. The stream promises to be an unforgettable event, starring a handful of special guests; including YouTube personalities Angry Joe, NorthernLion, and Rage Gaming as well as Arrowhead’s Johan Pilestedt. It may (but probably won’t) be the last thing you ever see.

Akaneiro: Demon Hunters Launches

Akaneiro: Demon Hunters officially launches today, offering access to this action/RPG from American McGee's Spicy Horse Games, as the Kickstarter for the game enters its homestretch with under three days to go. Also, there's a new interview on Gaming Nexus talking with Spicy Horse's Ben Kerslake, who serves as the game's Creative Director. Here's the announcement:

January 31 2013. Shanghai. Spicy Horse Games, makers of "Alice: Madness Returns," "BigHead BASH," and "American McGee's Grimm" announced today that "Akaneiro: Demon Hunters" is now available for play via SpicyWorld and Kongregate for Mac and PC.

Based on the Little Red Riding Hood story combined with Japanese folklore and myth, and illustrated in Spicy Horse's unique dark fantasy style, "Akaneiro: Demon Hunters" is an action-RPG that lets players hunt legendary monsters in Edo-era Japan.

Akaneiro launches with 20 maps of content with more options on the way, including Steam integration. If the now-running Kickstarter is fully funded, Linux and mobile versions and additional systems including co-op gameplay and equipment crafting will be arriving in the near-future. To check out the Kickstarter plans and reward tiers, please visit: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spicyhorse/akaneiro-demon-hunters

The game is free to download and play, with a $20 "unlock all maps" one time purchase option for those who'd like to get all the content in one shot as well as various options purchasable with the in-game currency, karma, for those planning to buy things piecemeal.

To play Akaneiro now, players need only visit the official site at http://www.angry-red.com and sign up.

Continue here to read the full story.

Mass Effect 3 Patch Today

A new patch is expected today for Mass Effect 3, to update BioWare's RPG/shooter sequel to version 1.05. The BioWare Social Network has details on the rollout, saying it should come to the PC edition at 10:00 am, time zone unspecified. The new version will fix a multiplayer issue where users could have all of their weapons use rocket ammunition, and another issue with high memory usage when initializing DLCs. Thanks VG247.

Diablo III PTR Patch Notes Updated

The Diablo III Website has updated patch notes for the version 1.0.7 patch for Diablo III that's currently in testing on the Public Test Realm for Blizzard's action/RPG sequel. The notes reflect further balance tweaks and bug fixes, some changed drop rates, boosted stats for the new account-bound craftable items, damage boosts for rubies, changes in damage reduction for PvP duelling, and a further nerf to reflected damage.

Zowie Bowie Directing Warcraft

Hollywood Reporter has news that Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code)will direct the upcoming movie based on Warcraft, Blizzard's fantasy universe. Word is the former Zowie Bowie, son of musician David Bowie, will helm the project, which is currently planned for a 2015 release, and is referred to in the article as a tent pole film. Thanks nin.

Warframe Closed Beta Updated; Interview

The Warframe Website announces Closed Beta Update 6 is now live in Digital Extremes' upcoming free-to-play co-op shooter. The new version includes new environments, Warframes, and "Space Ninja" moves, all of which are shown off in this trailer. On a related note, there's a new interview on IncGamers talking with the game's creative director Steve Sinclair and marketing director Meridith Braun, available as both an audio recording and a text transcript.

Morning Q&As

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • Arctic USB Charger PRO 4 Rev.2 on Benchmark Reviews.
  • ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 for AMD Socket FM2 APUs on techPowerUp.
  • ASUS Echelon (Camo Edition) on pcGameware.
  • ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DCU II Top on ocaholic.
  • Fractal Design Node 304 Mini-ITX Chassis on TweakTown.
  • NZXT Phantom 630 Ultra Tower Chassis on eTeknix.
  • Phanteks PH-TC90LS Low Profile cpu cooler on RBMODS.
  • Phanteks PH-TC12DX CPU Cooler on ProClockers.
  • Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme SSD Review (256GB) on The SSD Review.
  • Qnap TurboNAS TS-870U-RP Rackmount on Real World Labs.
  • RaidSonic ICY BOX IB-RD2121StS 2x2.5- to 3.5- HDD-SSD RAID Converter on Nikk Tech.
  • Rosewill Tachyon 650W PSU on Legit Reviews.
  • SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB SSD on TweakTown.
  • Silverstonetek GD07 HTPC enclosure on Metku.

etc.

Out of the Blue

The weather here is unseasonably warm, which seems to be because we are caught between a couple of reports, because the wind is insane out there, and there is a wind advisory in the area through this evening, calling for gusts up to 50 mph. I didn't need to read the weather to know this, though, as the wind almost threw open the storm door when I let the pooches out this morning, which came after I cleaned up the tidy pile of poop in the kitchen that was apparently caused by weather related panic last night. That panic continued, as Hudson the wonder dog proceeded to escape the yard (she remains the Houdini of dogs) attempting to find shelter from the uproar, which of course was in the house. I'm already over our wind-related adventures, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this doesn't cause any trees to knock over any of the overhead wiring for the BlueTower's power or Internet.

Windy Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Spin Spin: Episode 1.
Links: A hooked marlin sinks a fishing boat: Well, something like that. Thanks Cutter.
Stories: Powerful storms flip cars, decimate homes; 2 dead.
Cabaret reunion. Wtf happened to Michael York? Update: Apparently he's terribly ill? :(
Backyard chicken bans causing a stir in local cities.
Science: NASA: Feb. 15 asteroid fly-by will buzz Earth closer than many satellites.
Images: Ashton Kutcher’s Steve Jobs lookalike photo offers promotional distraction.
Media: Homeland RPG.
Paperman - Full Animated Short Film. Thanks nin.
Full Moon Silhouettes. Thanks Hoop.
High School Streaker Gets Away. The perfect crime.



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