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NBA 2K13

NBA 2K13 is all about My Player mode. As one of the best player simulators out there, it makes sense why 2K Sports put so much of their focus on My Player this year. But just because it’s good doesn’t mean it’s easy. So we put together a pile of tips to make sure your player is an all-star in no time.

Making the man

Right when you boot the game up, you’re directed to the player creator. This simply deals with aesthetics. However, after you finish this, select My Career from the main screen; this is where the real character editing takes place. As a rookie, you’re already at a disadvantage, but don’t fall for the temptation to choose “All-Around” for your play style. Instead, choose a certain skill set (shooting, passing, athleticism) instead.

Truthfully, the best and most fun skill set is shooting. Even though this may mean your player suffers in other areas such as his passing skills, these can be fixed later. It’s much better to excel in shooting and be able to earn more skill points quicker than it is to have a low rating for every other attribute. In this same vein, it’s good to expend points on one attribute and get it really high out of the gate. More on that later.

As far as the physical attributes of your character, this again is somewhere you want to make a hard commitment. If you want to be at an advantage under the rim, put your height up around 6’7” and your weight over 250 lbs. However, if you plan to be a quick player who can put a double move on someone and shoot mid-range shots, then a shorter, skinner player would be a better move. It all depends on your play style. I have a tall, skinny point guard who can move relatively quickly, but still shoot over shorter players. However, I often get bullied under the rim due to my smaller frame.

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Borderlands

I seriously doubt anyone sat down and said to their friend, “you know what game they should make? A first person shooter role-playing space western game.” When I first read about Borderlands, I was confused about the entire concept, but I was still hopeful. Indeed, the game came on the heels of the highly successful and seminal Fallout 3, which shared the strange combination of first person shooter/role-playing game. Like Fallout 3 before it, Borderlands took the first person shooter genre and shook it top to bottom. What came out was one of most strikingly distinctive games in recent memory.

The game struck at a time when our love of WWII shooters was just wearing off and we were in the process of switching obsessions to modern shooters. Graphics were making leaps and bounds closer toward photorealism. Story had for the most part taken a backseat to multiplayer elements. The campaign-heavy titles of the past were few and far between. So Borderlands certainly didn’t fit the mold of the current shooter, which is why it was so perfect.

People wanted to play with friends as was made apparent by the success Call of Duty, Gears of War, and Halo titles. Thus Borderlands struck the exact nerve of compromise between multiplayer and single-player. To this day, I don’t know that I’ve ever played the game by myself. I can’t speak to other people’s experience, but Borderlands replaced many of multiplayer games I played online. I could still murder the hell out of people and chat with my buddies while I was doing it, but there was a great story that kept me entertained along with the cherry-on-top RPG elements that pepper the game.

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Press Start

There’s often just too damn much to do and see at PAX Prime. Regardless of what you choose to do on any given night, you’re sure to miss out on something awesome that happened at another party or event.

Fortunately, there’s one show everyone is sure to love. Press Start, a first year art show curated and mostly organized by Valve artists Andrew Wilson and Eric Kirchmer, features mixed media art from over thirty renowned video game artists. The show opens on the opening day of PAX so I called up the curators and asked them to paint me a picture of what we can expect at the show. (PUNS!)

Both passionate artists outside the realm of video games, Wilson and Kirchmer wanted an opportunity to invite other like-minded industry artists to share each other’s works. Their close proximity to the PAX (Valve is located less than 15 miles away from the Washington State Convention Center) allowed them the perfect opportunity to bring artists and gamers together to enjoy fine art.

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Magical Game Time And The Art of Zac Gorman

The world of video game web comics is an ever-growing field. While there certainly are mainstays in the arena like Penny Arcade and Ctrl+Alt+Del, there are many other smaller comics that have carved out their own niche.

Zac Gorman’s “Magical Game Time” is technically one of the smaller video game web comics out there (Gorman has yet to put on a massive gaming expo), but is quickly gaining traction and clout in its field. Always a sucker for I-knew-him-whens, I hit up Gorman for an interview to talk about—among other things—Awesomenauts, The Simpsons and games our moms liked to play.

Gorman’s first foray into video game web comics was with a small site called “I Draw Nintendo” which quickly took off when one of his Zelda pieces was picked up by a number of gaming sites. From the beginning, Gorman has strayed quite far from other gaming comics (so much so that I hesitate to even call Magical Game Time a web comic). As he puts it, “It was definitely just about making doodles of the games I love. I never really planned on making a video game web comic. Once it started taking off a little bit I just kinda ran with.” Now his artwork has been featured on myriad gaming sites and has been re-blogged on Tumblr countless times.

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Announced alongside Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-O XIII, Final Fantasy Versus XIII had high expectations from the jump. Toss in my eternal love for all things Kingdom Hearts, the fact that the creator of Kingdom Hearts was also the director of Versus, and I was sold. But then reality set in, and six years later here I am; with no Versus and with no Kingdom Hearts 3 (which supposedly won’t be started until Versus is completed).

Much like any long-delayed game, Final Fantasy Versus XIII has treated fans to myriad highs and lows; daunting expectations that are dashed weeks later by a statement or press conference. The most recent of these, a rumored game cancellation published by Kotaku, reminded me once more just how protracted Versus’ development has been. So out of sheer curiosity, I threw together a timeline of the game’s development, detailing every time fans held their breath or let out a sigh of relief.

 

For expanded events on a specific time period, click on the plus sign. To read details about a certain event, simply click on it.

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Nuka Break Pt 1 - Turning Fan Fiction Into Reality

Nuka Break, the wildly popular fan-made live-action series set in the Fallout universe recently scored a huge victory with a $130,000 Kickstarter campaign for their second season. To find out just what Wayside has in store for the next season, I called up Wayside Creations co-founder and creative director Zack Finfrock to talk shop. If you missed the first part of my interview with Zack Finfrock, make sure to check it out to understand just why so many people want more Nuka Break.

Kickstarter success stories have become ubiquitous in the video game world. Consequently it seems that too many independent companies now turn to the popular crowdfunding site expecting the type of overwhelming success achieved only by a select few; namely Double Fine Adventure. However, Nuka Break season two is entirely deserving of the success and support it saw last month, receiving over $130,000; 205 percent of their $60,000 goal.

Mo’ money, less problems

Finfrock was equally surprised and grateful for the wealth of support Wayside received and is excited to use that money to make an even more badass season of Nuka Break. When I asked him off the top of his head what they were looking to add now that they were so generously funded, he responded simply, “I want to say more details.” He went on to state, “for season two we’ll have more money for production design.” This includes more props, actors, and sets.

Though the set that hosted the delightful town of Eastwood burned down during filming of season one, Wayside still has their eyes on a number of other great locations in which to shoot. They’re looking at locations close to Los Angeles, and some as far away as the border of California and Nevada. Regarding places to shoot, Finfrock explained, “as cool as Eastwood was, we couldn’t put a lot of money into it.” However, the large amount of funding Wayside received has opened the door to any number of possible locations and sets.

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Nuka Break Pt 1 - Turning Fan Fiction Into Reality

Nuka Break, the wildly popular fan-made live-action series set in the Fallout universe recently scored a huge victory with a $130,000 Kickstarter campaign for their second season. Curious to know just what it was that gave season one that special spark I called up Wayside Creations co-founder and creative director Zack Finfrock to talk about avoiding lawsuits, flaming swords, and super mutants.  

I share a special kinship with Wayside Creations creative director Zack Finfrock. We are both enormous Fallout fans who didn’t necessarily fall in love with the series playing the first game, but the seminal Fallout 3.

“It was one of the first games where I would sit and lose an entire day and not realize it,” Finfrock explained. “To this day one of my favorite gaming moments of all time is walking out of Vault 101.” This iconic flash of light would signal an obsession not soon shook off.

His passion for Fallout, stemming from the hundreds of hours spent with Fallout 3 prompted Finfrock to suggest a Fallout fan film to his coworkers at Wayside Creations. “I’d always brought up the idea of doing fan films to our group but the general opinion on that was ‘why don’t we just do original content,’” Finfrock told me. However, when he brought up Fallout, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

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More often than not, comic books fail to get their due in the world of video games. Most comic book video games are just obligatory tragedies designed to pimp an equally bad accompanying film. The solution, of course, is to cut out the middle man. Rocksteady learned this and made two of the greatest comic book-based games of all-time based on Batman.

With Comic-Con behind us and the Dark Knight rising in the distance, it’s a great time to dream about which comic book characters deserve a game to bring them to life and into our living rooms.

Top 5 Comic Book Characters That Need A Video Game -- Following In The Footsteps Of The Dark Knight

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Daredevil – Seeing is Believing

Video games are always looking for a new way to bring an experience to players. Playing a game as Daredevil would definitely fill that role. Blinded at a young age by radioactive waste, Daredevil’s other senses became heightened to an extraordinary level. He uses a sort of sonar in place of vision, allowing him to see in the same way bats do. What this means for a video game is an entirely new way of looking at gameplay.

Whereas in other games, certain rooms are dark in order to build suspense; in a Daredevil game those same rooms would be silent or odorless in order to disorient the player. Further, Daredevil’s signature weapon—an augmented billy club with a length of high strength cable—can be used both for travel and for simply beating the snot out of thugs. Finally, Daredevil has a fantastic, deep, and dark backstory (as any superhero that has been touched by Frank Miller usually does) that would lend itself to a 15+ hour video game.

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Ouya

I’ve never used Kickstarter before, but the temptation of the new Ouya got me to start weighing in the pros versus the cons of jumping into this foreign land.

I told myself it was out of some journalistic moral conflict, but the truth is that I’ve never really seen something that really piqued my interest. I couldn’t even justify jumping on the Double Fine bandwagon. Perhaps the price wasn’t right. But apparently, a $99 developer-friendly console is just what it took to become a crowd funder.

Will the Ouya fulfill promises and shake up the traditional business model for consoles? Let’s take a look.

The good – a world of possibilities…and a cool controller

At its core, the main draw to the Ouya is probably the price. Starting off at $99, the Ouya is cheaper by far than any of the current generation of consoles, including handhelds. From college students to families on a budget, the Ouya has already guaranteed itself a niche in the console market by principle of its cost alone. Ideally, it will become ubiquitous—not unlike the Wii, which used this same marketing technique to gain dominance over the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3—and developers won’t be able to ignore it.

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Tags: Features, Tech

Google Glass Price And Release Date Revealed

Augmented reality in video games, much like 3D or motion gaming, has yet to shed itself of the label as just another gimmick. Indeed, in the decades since the first home console, almost nothing has changed. We still sit on the couch with a controller in our hands playing a box that’s plugged into the TV. I can say with confidence now that the hype surrounding the Wii has worn off, and the Kinect/Move failed to enact any serious change within the industry.

If there is one element of gaming that is in a constant state of flux, it’s mobile gaming. The 3DS is almost alien technology compared to the original Gameboy. And don’t get me started on the technological marvel that is the PS Vita. So while new tech struggles to take root in console gaming, it may find a happy home in mobile games. That is if it can ever get off the ground.

What I’ve noticed about all augmented reality technology is that it makes for one hell of a YouTube video. We all drooled over Google’s Project Glass video. Vita’s November trailer demonstrating a number of augmented reality games in development raised more than a few eyebrows. I vaguely remember a video wherein an iPhone was used to shoot space invaders attacking an augmented city skyline. But when push comes to shove, either these technologies were never realized, or the realization just wasn’t what people expected or wanted.

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Gamers have been yelling at their TVs since time immemorial. We yell at tough bosses, missed jumps and frustrating game design. So when the Kinect actually made use of this, it was well overdue.

Now when yell at our jackass companions to do something, they actually do it. But what of the decades’ worth of games that missed out on this opportunity? What of the millions of times we shouted at in-game companions as the continued to walk into that damn wall? With the recent inclusion of Kinect capabilities in Skyrim, I had to think about some games of millennia past that could use a similar retrofit.

Chrono Trigger Coming To PSN Tuesday -- Seriously This Time

Chrono Trigger – SNES

This instant classic created a canvas on which countless other JRPGs were painted. As such, I will assume this covers the myriad JRPGs that followed, including the stalwart Final Fantasy series. With any turn-based combat system featuring allies and their respective moves, simply using your voice to command an individual to use a certain move would feel pretty awesome and save a lot of time. It would certainly make the game go quicker when dealing with repetitive, low-level baddies. After a battle, it would also be pretty sweet to simply access restoration items immediately with your voice instead of having to open up your menu and sift through piles of potions.

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Cooking Mama

Mother’s Day, for some, is an opportunity to show their mothers how much they truly love them. For others, it’s just another holiday spent rushing to the pharmacy to buy a card the day of. But for everyone, it’s a reminder of just how important mothers are. Perhaps because of their inherent nature as loving caregivers, game developers have taken advantage of mothers as a storytelling device for decades.

Video game moms have taken bullets for their offspring, abandoned them during a zombie outbreak, and sent them off to wander an unsafe world full of deadly monsters (in fact, this last one has happened in more than a couple JRPGs). Mothers in games run the gamut from obsessively protective to criminally negligent. Regardless of their role as evil harpy or expendable plot device; generally when a mother is presented in a game, she’s bound to evoke some strong emotions.

One not particularly subtle way to evoke these emotions is to simply martyr someone’s mother. Heroes in games—much like those in comic books—seem unable to maintain a healthy relationship with their moms. Sometimes this is due to a long separation like, say, a kidnapping or murder. In these cases, mothers are used to further character development or build backstory without much explanation. Indeed, if someone murdered your character’s mother, it makes sense that he’s tearing apart the world to find her killer; what more do you need to know? In Dragon Quest V, once the hero finds out his mother is trapped in the demon world, he doesn’t fret or hesitate to battle through hell itself to find her.

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I’ve been watching Skyrim mod videos on YouTube since the game came out. They’re entertaining, fun and unique; but they’re also a clear sign that gamers are more than ready for some new content for the game. Bethesda delivers with their newest game patch with Kinect support.

Many—mostly those who have dismissed the Kinect wholesale as gimmicky—wrote off the announcement as silly and kitschy. Others who enjoyed the Kinect inclusion in Mass Effect 3 were more than happy to finally use their dusty add-on for something other than a party trick. Truly, Bethesda’s initiative has opened up quite a few doors for publishers looking to breathe life into not-so-old games. So sit back and relax while I fantasize about other 360 games that could use a little Kinect retrofitting.

Fallout 3

Fallout 3/New Vegas

For anyone who spent hundreds of hours with Fallout 3, the appeal in opening your Pip-Boy probably wore off before you left Vault 101. Not too dissimilar from the Kinect support in Skyrim (minus the badass shouts), voice commands in Fallout 3 and New Vegas would allow you to adjust to situations more swiftly and naturally. Now I understand this might detract from the RPG feel, but it would probably just make dropping the 23 burned books you accidentally picked up less troublesome. And I’d much rather just say “Stimpak” when I needed one rather than hoping I hot-keyed it and dying as a result.

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inFamous

Pop music might not be on your iPod rotation, but video games have warmed up to them over the years. More than just audial wallpaper, there’s a method to this musical madness. As games have matured, the way that they utilize popular music has matured with them. Now if only popular music could do the same.

More often than not, you can guess the music a game will feature before you even open the package. Is it action, adventure, RPG, or a shooter? Then you can probably expect some instrumental music not far removed from Pirates of the Caribbean or Lord of the Rings. Is it spooky? Then some shrill off-key piano is probably in store. Indeed, BioShock was praised for its haunting melodies, but were they really that different from any other survival horror game?

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I’ll be honest; I haven’t been much of a fan of handheld consoles since the Game Boy Advance. I realize that handhelds have evolved and improved since Metroid Fusion, but I never felt like they were keeping up with home consoles. That is until I first heard about the PlayStation Vita. It seemed to me immediately that the Vita made up for five years of a yawn-worthy handheld market. Cameras, tilt control, front and back touchpad, dual joysticks, and incredible graphics all represent one giant leap for handhelds.

After playing a dozen games on a dozen Vitas at CES this year, I’m even surer of the limitless possibilities offered by the handheld. With a lineup of games from the biggest franchises in video games, the Vita is here to stay. Needless to say, I’m excited. But more than just excitement for the Vita, I’m excited for games I think would be perfect for the system. Picking up Uncharted on the Vita felt the same as the PS3, until I saw something sparkly on the screen and instinctively tapped it to pick it up. So without further ado, these are the games I feel absolutely need to be seen glowing on a screen on the train.

FIFA 11 Preview

Every Sports Game

I love sports games, and gobble them up indiscriminately. After playing FIFA on the Vita, I was stunned at just how natural it felt. My main problem when it comes to sports games—be it hockey, soccer, or basketball—is passing. But with a touchpad, you can properly lead your player with a pass, or simply ensure you’re passing to the right guy. Further, the overwhelmingly crisp graphics on the Vita may make some competition for sports titles on home consoles. I would love to shoot foul shots using the gyroscope or use the touchscreen to block a penalty kick.

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