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As gamers we love loot. Love it. We see something drop from an enemy encounter, and we rush up to it, eager to get our grubby, battle-scarred hands on it. It doesn’t matter if we play alone, with friends, frenemies or clans, we just can’t get enough of the good stuff after battling.

Have you ever thought about why we’re so loot obsessed? If you take a step back and think about it, what we’re getting excited about is a collection of pixels on a screen, and often the actual content of the loot is close to worthless in terms of the game itself. So why do we get so excited when we see it?

World of Warcraft: Looting From Other Games Since 2001

The typical set up in a loot-heavy game is a generous reward system – you get loot for nearly every encounter (so it’s a plentiful resource), but you only get the good stuff every so often. Rare loot is a precious, wonderful find, and the schedule by which you’ll get it is set in such a way that you’ll always think it’s possible – so you’ll continue to keep fighting, keep going, and keep trying for the good stuff. It’s rare, but not so rare that you feel hopeless and give up.

If this sounds a bit like the way casinos run, you’re correct. Payout schedules on slot machines are adjusted to the same principle – the house wants you to keep playing, so they’ll throw you a bone every so often. And sometimes – just sometimes, that bone has some serious meat on it.

What’s going on here is operant conditioning, by way of positive reinforcement. Good old BF Skinner coined the term (and noted its forms) back in the 50s when he was doing behavioral experiments on rodents, which, like it or not, applies scarily well to the human world.

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Mad Catz Street Fighter X Tekken Versus FightStick Review »



Street Fighter X Tekken is Capcom's and Namco's newest cross over brawler and that means you're going to need a new fighstick to match. Mad Catz has revealed its newest edition to its arcade stick family: The Street Fighter X Tekken Arcade FightStick V.S. edition. Is this stick worth the money or should you stick to one of your old Mad Catz sticks?

Let's take a look.

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Devil May Cry HD Collection Release Date Announced: Get Ready To Kill Demons April 3, 2012

A quick glance at the recent release schedules demonstrates the power of the HD Collection. The likes of Devil May Cry, God of War, Metal Gear Solid, and Silent Hill have all seen their earlier classics revitalized through the inclusion of high-definition resolutions, trophies and achievements, and in some cases, bonus material.

HD Collections are relatively simple to make, while also near guaranteed to be somewhat successful. Fans who played them before want to relive their memories with the addition of achievements/trophies while newcomers get to revel in gaming history on a current generation console. It's a win-win scenario.

We've seen some great games given the HD treatment, but how about the titles that have been overlooked? We take a look at the five HD Collections that we want to see released soon and just what why they would be so popular.

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Tags: Features



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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Blizzard Planning Big Diablo 3 News For BlizzCon This Year

What would a dungeon-crawler be without a sprawling menagerie of loot? Our guide to Diablo III's Loot System will aid you in quickly becoming an expert in which item yields what, how your brand new shinies can be identified, and how each is generated. You'll be an epic hoarder in no time, and we mean that in the nicest way possible.

What's a loot drop?

As you rampage through Sanctuary felling enemies or bashing any type of breakable object you're often rewarded with "loot drops," otherwise known as a pile of swag. Like you'd gather at E3 or another convention, but in-game. These randomly-generated collectible items will fall to the ground for you to squirrel away. For some, it's why they fight. For others, it's a steady stream of income-generating valuables that aid in the epic quest ahead. The items dropped can range from potions, weapons, armor, gold, and other types of equipment.

Of course, there is a system in place to determine at which interval specific items are available, and what they are. There are several variables by which loot is distributed: if it drops at all, how much of it, and what the properties of each item actually is. Anything from a monster's level to the type of breakable item destroyed can affect what type of drop you receive. For instance, a low-level enemy most likely isn't going to produce a top-tier item. Slay a more formidable foe, and the loot produced is much more valuable.

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Nerdsourcing digs through all the newest video game projects hitting the web that could use your attention and hard earned money. We give you the pitch and some of the rewards. All you need to do is to see if it’s worth your attention. Nerds unite. Only you can make these projects happen.

Carmageddon: Reincarnation

The Pitch:

When the original Carmageddon hit the streets, the outrage hit the fan as players got to run over cows, people, and anything else that would leave a red smear against their bumper. The original creators behind this death race want to make a sequel that’s every bit as bloody and fun as the original. Focusing on speed and dark humor, Carmageddon: Reincarnation needs every dollar to make every blood splatter look amazing and every buzz saw shine like crisp death.

They also have adorable British accents. And who doesn’t love a good accent?

What’s in it for my $25?

The VIP (Very Flammable Penguins) pack gives you access to their forums, early beta access, a Steam code for the final game, wallpaper, and a credit in the game.

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Tags: Features

Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

LOSTWINDS 2: WINTER OF THE MELODIAS

iOS

The original LostWinds stands as one of my favorite iOS platformers, with its whimsical gameplay, lovely environments, and fun characters. The impossibly adorable Toku is back, and so is Enril the Wind Spirit. This time, Toku’s mom is missing, and he must travel far and wide to find her. Along the way, you’ll encounter lots of new places to explore and new inhabitants within them.

Enril the Wind Spirit is still the driving force behind most of the puzzle-solving during the game, and there are some patently tricky ones out there as the game goes on. It keeps the game interesting, though I’ll admit every now and again the controls can get fickle, resulting in attempting a number of puzzles repeatedly until the controls finally “click.” Overall though, it’s a minor inconvenience that shouldn’t hamper your full experience.

LostWinds2 is another classic iOS platformer, and for the price tag, there’s plenty to do, see, and collect across one completion. There’s a lot of heart in Toku’s journey, not to mention the rest of the game’s incredible heaps of charm, making it a definite buy if you love games in the genre.

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'Diablo III'

With the much anticipated release of Diablo III, it's the ideal time to catch up on the storyline that's led us to this grand finale of the memorable trilogy. For many, it'll be their first experience of the series given the time that's lapsed between installments and, while gameplay will be intuitive, it's going to be useful to understand the background behind such games without having to play through the previous two games and expansions packs.

The timeline behind the trilogy is a convoluted tale full of intrigue and lore that could cover hundreds of pages of information. Indeed it has, thanks to the many novelizations of the series. While we can't quite go into that level of depth here, we can provide a perfect introduction to the main storyline to ensure that new and lapsed players can catch up with exactly what's going on.

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You talk about our mothers all year; it’s about time that we shared with you stories about our moms and video games for this Mother’s Day.

While not everyone’s mom is so understanding about spending hours in front of the TV playing with something they hardly understand, we still love you for letting us sneak in a few games when we are sick and spending countless hours looking for that one game that we just needed to play.

For this Mother’s Day, we here at G4TV want to say thank you to all the mothers out there across the land who let us drag them into gaming. Here are our stories about our mothers and videogames.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Jonathan Goorvich’s Mother – The Best Around

On a weeknight in 1985, my family was the second we knew to own the original Nintendo Entertainment System. We spent way too long hooking up the single coaxial cable, fired up the console, and excitedly gathered around the TV for a life changing experience. After killing Mario off several times in an attempt to make it past the very first Koopa Troopa, my mom insisted that it was her turn. On her very first life of her very first game, she made it all the way to the first castle. Unheard of!

And so, on a day that should have lived in personal gaming infamy, I ultimately stayed up WAY past my bedtime watching my mom play Super Mario Bros. all night. Until this day, I'm pretty sure she's still better than me at the game.

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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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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

N.O.V.A. 3

iOS

Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. series is one of the best examples of an FPS shooter done right on mobile, and it’s no different with the newest installment in the series. N.O.V.A. 3 keeps all of the touches that make the franchise great and manages to toss some new features into the mix to keep things fresh. You’re still playing as Kal Warden, savior of the human race (on more than one occasion). Warden is helping out a friend located in the ruins of San Fransisco. Unfortunately, upon arrival, Warden finds the alien Volterites laying the place to waste, and must once again fight for his life and the rest of humanity’s.

The story in campaign mode is well-written and voiced, and the environments take full advantage of the new iPad’s Retina Display as well as it’s increased processor speeds. The overall visuals in N.O.V.A. 3 are stunning. In fact, they’re among the best FPS graphics you’ll currently see in mobile. A new (and welcome) feature is the addition of in-game currency based on how well you complete a level. That currency can then be used to purchase upgrades and weapons. It’s an excellent way to increase replay value on the single-player campaign, and if you’re not into perfection, IAP is available as well to buy those items.

Of course, what N.O.V.A. review would be complete without a nod to its most exciting component: multiplayer. With both local and online gameplay, a plethora of game modes (FFA, Team Deathmatch, Freeze Tag, CTF, InstaGib, and Capture the Point), and even tournaments, you’ll be playing N.O.V.A. 3 long after you’ve completed Campaign Mode.

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The future of gaming graduated this year from USC, the number one game-design school as ranked by USA Today, and I was there this year to take part of their Demo Day activities.

Among the student and their projects, you couldn’t help but run into some of the big names in gaming like EA, Sony, and 2K Games. All of them were looking for their next superstar. With games like flOw and The Misadventure of P.B. Winterbottom coming out of this program, it’s little wonder why everyone is looking to grab the talent coming out of this school.

While you might not have made it for the finger food and cups of coffee, here are some of the big games you need to know about from the USC Demo Day event.

Blink

Not all student games need to look as though those who have never dipped their feet into the professional waters made them. Take Blink for example. From the very first cut scene, you feel as though you’re playing a triple-A title.

As a spy caught by the evil corporation, they try to make you into the perfect warrior by giving you the power to warp over short distances or blink. Even tied down and surrounded by an army of bots, you find a way to escape. (When will evil corporations ever learn?) Now with a new ability and only a knife by your side, you navigate the twisted hallways and training areas as you try to escape.

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Urban legends are prevalent throughout all mediums of popular culture, with dozens dating back to mysterious happenings on movie sets and subliminal messaging worked into popular musical hits, but the gaming industry has somehow managed to debunk or confirm most of these legends rather quickly.

This doesn’t leave much to be shared in terms of legends or tales, but rest assured, there’s a small number of urban legends surrounding videogames that still have players questioning their validity.

Polybius

The Polybius Initiative

In 1981, a small number of mysterious cabinets started making their way into arcades throughout Portland, Oregon. There wasn’t much that was known about these machines, but they gained popularity at an alarming rate before causing extreme problems and disappearing completely.

The internet wasn’t around much in 1981, which meant that most of the information on arcade cabinets came from newsletters or straight from the cabinet distributor themselves. When Polybius started making its way around the Portland suburbs, there wasn’t too much information on it. It has been said that the gameplay was of a tempest-style but could have possibly had mazes and other puzzles built-in, there’s really no way to confirm either way.

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Minecraft header

Playing this week's Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition is like stepping into a time machine for fans of the PC game. The console port from 4J Studios faithfully re-creates Mojang's blocky world-building game, but it's an earlier version of that game, and a somewhat stripped-down one as well, in comparison to the original. It's still totally fun and addictive, but fans of the PC version will experience a somewhat unpleasant sense of deja vu the first time they play.

The most important addition that we'd like to see is of course the release of the various updates that would bring this Minecraft alongside the PC version in terms of in-game features. We're talking hunger and experience meters, jungle biomes, ravines, Nether Fortresses, Strongholds, abandoned mine shafts... lots of cool stuff that adds to the experience of exploring the world. This content is supposedly coming in future updates, though no release plan has yet been revealed.

There are other features though, elements from the PC version of the game that don't necessarily fit into one of the capital-U Updates, but are nonetheless essential to delivering a proper Minecraft experience. We're going to take a moment now to highlight those, in the hopes that mentioning these absent features will somehow magically transport them into the Xbox 360 game.

Or, you know, 4J will take notice and do something about it. Magic would be cooler though.

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Skyrim: Dawnguard

With the newly announced Skyrim DLC, Dawnguard, just over the horizon, now would be the perfect time to start making of list of features we expect to see.

Luckily for us, Bethesda tipped their hand at DICE this year to show off some of the projects that the genius developers there worked on behind the scenes. Since then, we’ve already seen the implementation of kill cams for arrows and dragon shouts by using the Kinect. We’re still waiting on a couple of other innovations to come to light.

Here are our picks for things we want to see in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC.

Elder Scrolls 5 Skyrim

Horse Combat

Bethesda did something no one expected by making horses cool. Remember all of that hubbub during the days of Oblivion when they thought people would actually pay money for horse armor. I know several people who would gladly fork over some cold hard cash for a little steel for their horse. But forget the pony show here; what I want is to make horses even cooler.

Let me attack from the saddle. Swing a sword. Draw a bow. Throw a lightening bolt or two. As it is right now, even a mangy pack of wolves makes me off of my high horse just to dispatch them. Even simple maneuvers would allow me to feel as though I could at least defend my trusty steed.

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