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Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Preview

WARNING: Spoilers follow.

“A man chooses. A slave obeys.”

So said Andrew Ryan, the iconic antagonist of 2007 classic Bioshock, and so changed my perspective on just what it meant to play a video game. With those six simple words, I was led to consider just how much control stemmed from the seemingly misnamed controller I held in my hands.

Sure, I may have been the one doing all the running, jumping, and shooting, but when it came down to why I was actually doing all those things in the first place, the answer was simple: because I was told to. I realized that my in-game freedom had been an illusion—an enjoyable one for sure, but a fallacy nonetheless. Once I entered into the game’s world, I effectively constrained myself to the only paths it had ever provided for me.

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Nerdsourcing finds you the best crowd sourcing projects from Kickstater, Indiegogo, and other such sites, and brings them straight to your wallet. Give, help spread the word, or just find out what’s going to be the hot new thing in the future; nerdsourcing is there to help support the dreamers out there looking to make the impossible a reality or those looking for the next big thing an edge on the competition. Time is limited to fund these projects so don’t wait to long.

Sportsfriends

If you’ve spent any time over the last year listening to gaming podcasts, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Johann Sebastian Joust. As music plays, contestants are challenged to bump the other player’s PlayStation Move controller, jostle it, or cause enough vibration for the device to count you out. It becomes this slow-moving duel that people get really into, often going as far as to remove their shoe and throw it at the other players. I’ve even seen someone set down their controller and run around tagging everyone else.

Sportsfriends (Johann Sebastian Joust, BaraBariBall, Super Pole Riders, and Hokra) wants to bring that extremely unique dynamic of player-versus-player interaction into your home – with a little less “shoe throwing.” Each of these titles gives you the thrill of competition without taxing your thumbs. The Kickstarter campaign is bringing all of these games to both the PlayStation 3 and the PC.

Reward: A $15 pledge will get you copies of all four games on either the PS3 or PC.

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How We're Becoming... Repo Men

AshleyEsqueda

Posted November 8, 2012 - By Ashley Esqueda

“How We’re Becoming...” takes a look at existing (and upcoming technology) that seems to have come directly from pop culture, and how it intends to weave new threads into the fabric of society. We’ve all seen or heard something fictional we want desperately to materialize (we’re looking at you, Hoverboard), and these are the concepts that are actually coming true.

Ah, Repo Men. A film where an evil corporation (The Union) privately manufactures and sells artificial organs an insane prices by extending credit to desperate buyers hoping to extend their lives. Remy (Jude Law) and Jake (Forrest Whitaker) play repo guys who show up when you miss a payment to take back past-due organs. That can be... well, messy.

How We're Becoming... Repo Men

Source: Universal Pictures

...But what if fully functional vital organs grown in a lab were real? What if, in the near future, we could simply walk into a hospital and buy a fresh heart with no prior owner or fear of our body rejecting it?

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Tags: Features, Tech

Fashion For A Cause -- The Vision Of The Lennon Eyewear Collection

We all take sight for granted. For those of you nearsighted like me, try looking for your glasses in the morning or work with only on contact in and you know what I mean. For everyone else, just pretend you know what I’m talking about.

But it’s more than just ignoring one of our most important senses, but knowing that we can get the problem fixed in under an hour in your local mall or shopping center. Imagine losing those glasses or missing that contact in the middle of a place like Rwanda where getting something as necessary as fresh water can be an insurmountable task. Here, vision is both essential and often too high of a cost.

Adlen is already looking to change that with a revolutionary technology that makes adjusting any your eyewear as easy as turning a knob with Emergensee glasses. Now, you have a chance to help make a difference and look good at the same time by purchasing your own pair of these technological marvels.

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Tags: Features, Tech

Halo 4

The Promethean forces of Halo 4 inject some much-needed new flavor into the franchise. Previous Halo games have largely depended on the Flood as a second enemy faction, alongside the religious zealots of the Covenant. The zombie-like beings served to alter the tactical flow of Halo battlefields, and the Prometheans that replace them serve the same basic purpose while also adding an assortment of new pea shooters to your arsenal.

The Prometheans bring much more tactical depth to the battlefield than the Flood of previous games ever did, with greater variety within their ranks and a different approach to the challenge of killing human interlopers. Their weapons also tweak what's familiar in some unexpected ways. That's why we've assembled this little Promethean primer. Read on for rundowns of what to expect from this new threat and their assorted toys.

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Halo 4

A new era begins for Master Chief and the Halo franchise starting today with the release of the 343 Industries' Halo 4. It's been two years since the last proper Halo game and five since the story that continues in the new release was last explored. Unless you're a super-fan, you probably haven't played a lot of Halo in recent months, and there's a slightly different flavor to 343 Industries' take even if you have.

All of which means you're looking at a little bit of a learning curve when you fire up Halo 4 for the first time. That's why we've assembled this little starter guide. Learn what's new and get ahead with a few useful tips before you dive in to witness Master Chief's latest adventure firsthand.

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Xbox Live Debate Polling -- What It Means For The Future

A common reaction to Microsoft’s E3 briefing this year was “Where are the games?” Core gaming was conspicuously absent from the keynote, supplanted by a focus on the Xbox 360 as an entertainment hub.

This came as no surprise to any observer of the video game industry as the race to provide an indispensable media center for the living room has governed the later phases of the current console cycle. And this year, for the first time ever, the United States Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates featured interactive television polling, hosted on Xbox Live.

It was a clear demonstration of how Microsoft is trying to expand the definition and usage of the Xbox 360 but what, if anything, can we gleam from those polls? Could such an unrepresentative, self-selecting sample of respondents really have told us anything other than what the Xbox Live audience thought? We spoke with David Rothschild, an economist with Microsoft Research, about how the debate polling was planned and executed and what lessons were learned.

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Nerdsourcing finds you the best crowd sourcing projects from Kickstater, Indiegogo, and other such sites, and brings them straight to your wallet. Give, help spread the word, or just find out what’s going to be the hot new thing in the future; nerdsourcing is there to help support the dreamers out there looking to make the impossible a reality or those looking for the next big thing an edge on the competition. Time is limited to fund these projects so don’t wait to long.

Memoto

There’s no denying it: we’re oversharers. We take pictures of our food and put them on the internet so that other people can see. It’s become a totally common and acceptable thing to document every moment of your life. If that’s the case, why don’t we just take it to the next level? Memoto does by automatically capturing a photo every 30 seconds from a clip-on wearable camera.

Memoto uploads this mass of photos to the cloud, with GPS and geotagging information so that you’ll know where each memory took place. You can then open up the iPhone and Android app to look at the photos throughout the day in a beautifully presented stop-motion “moment” or individually. You won’t have to worry about people getting access to your photos either, as they’re all encrypted and can only be viewed by you.

Reward: You can snag a Memoto for $249 through the Kickstarter campaign.

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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 five favorite games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

PUNCH QUEST

iOS (FREE)

No lie, Punch Quest is one of the best damn games we’ve played this year on any mobile device. This arcade-style action game is rocking us like a hurricane this week, and handily snags the Game of the Week title this time around. It might seem like a run-of-the-mill runner, but trust us, the second you punch open an egg and a raptor with lasers shooting out of its mouth pops out, you know this game is more than meets the eye.

The game’s concept is simple: run through levels, punch bad things/chests/environments, and collect in-game currency to buy upgrades. There’s something decidedly Double Dragon about Punch Quest’s art style, and we mean that in the most awesome way possible. Levels are fun to navigate, and (we’ll admit it) sometimes it’s just fun to punch the crap out of stuff.

While playing, you’ll realize that the more time you spend with it, the deeper it gets; indeed, from special moves to costumes, customizing your character is a huge part of Punch Quest’s appeal. And for a free game, you’ll never feel pressured to participate in the IAP, though we happily parted with our cash, just to support the developers at Rocketcat Games!

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Developing Dynamic Music In Gaming - David Kanaga Talks About DYAD, Proteus, And Interactive Music

It isn't hard to get David Kanaga going. The mastermind behind the music in DYAD and Proteus, indie darlings famous for their procedurally generated audio and unique content, Kanaga makes no secret about his love for music. He talks about his work the same way another would wax poetic about a significant other, with a kind of barely-contained excitement that is outright contagious.

"I've been doing music since I was twelve. That was around the time I discovered FruityLoops which is, like, this music software of sorts - it was around then that I could really start writing stuff and developing areas. Before that, I was always messing around on the piano. And I think what drew me to music is probably similar to what drew me to video games - just having this system with input was really intriguing and compelling to me." Kanaga begins.

"Cases where the music doesn't really affect the game have never seemed very interesting to me. As such, with the games I've been involved with, I've pushed to make them as interactive as possible."

While his working conditions have been all but perfect, Kanaga says 'he is still trying to figure out how to do this.'

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IGF Entrants Than You Need To Know About -- That Indie Column

Don’t think for a second that the indie action is letting up to make way for the triple-A titles this Fall. The nights may be longer and the air a little cooler, but this only gives you more of an incentive to dive into some of the best games to hit the digital medium. And the Independent Games Festival just released their short list games they’re looking to bring to the big dance at GDC next year.

And by little, I mean nearly 600 games hitting the stage. As I mentioned, these are the games in consideration for the big prizes and the far shorter selection will be announced early next year. Until then, peruse through the selection this year ranging from the retail favorites (FTL), story focused games that transport you into a personal journey (dys4ia), many of your favorite games from IndieCade (Analogue: A Hate Story), and some new faces that you need to keep an eye on in the coming months.

I dare you to look through the list and not become excited by what indie games can offer. But knowing that your time is precious, I’ve picked out a couple of select games that you need to know about right now.

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Top 5 Scary Urban Legends In Video Games -- You've Met A Terrible Fate, Haven't You?

We at G4 are no strangers to the urban legends of the gaming world; we've touched on the topic more than once in the past. But today we'd like to take a special look at five of the most terrifying myths about games—the ones that make us lock our doors and unplug our N64s for fear of pixels coming to life in the night.

It's Halloween, after all. And if a demonic version of Sonic is going to show up in your bedroom, or a song in a Pokemon game is going to influence you to kill yourself, now is when it's likely going to happen. It's probably best to avoid playing any creepy games at all right now—but that's not going to happen, is it?

Unless you want your loved ones to have to somehow explain in your eulogy that you were killed while playing Minecraft.

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Nerdsourcing finds you the best crowd sourcing projects from Kickstater, Indiegogo, and other such sites, and brings them straight to your wallet. Give, help spread the word, or just find out what’s going to be the hot new thing in the future; nerdsourcing is there to help support the dreamers out there looking to make the impossible a reality or those looking for the next big thing. Time is limited to fund these projects so don’t wait to long.

Distance

Distance is best described as a survival racing game, which might sounds a bit weird, but when you see it in action, it totally works. It takes the fast-paced racing action of arcade titles like Rush and Cruzin’ USA and puts them inside unique environments that look like they’re straight out of Tron. This all takes place behind the wheel of a vehicle that looks like a mix between the BMW supercar from Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and future hovercars from any science-fiction film.

If that hasn’t already sold you on the title, its slick and beautiful look sure will. It’s hard to believe that this is coming from a group of students who just graduated from DigiPen. It even has LAN and online multiplayer, modding tools, and controller support. It’s the full package.

Reward: Access to the early beta and the full game when finished will set you back a $15 pledge.

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The walking dead

WARNING: Spoilers follow.

Like its comic book and television show counterparts, Telltale’s The Walking Dead video game tells a story about the living disguised as a story about the dead. Yes, zombies are cool, and blowing their heads off is even cooler, but after a while their rascally man-eating antics can get a bit predictable.

Instead, what fascinates most about The Walking Dead is seeing just how Lee Everett and his often-dysfunctional band of survivors carry on in the face of the apocalypse. The video game adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s acclaimed comic books is a grim, death-filled, and often depressing tale, but every so often it flashes signs of what it means to truly be alive. Sometimes, it shows that the world needs to crumble around us in order to understand what’s most important. Yeah, it’s pretty deep.

So, with that philosophy in mind, we’ve done some soul-searching and gathered together five life lessons that anyone can take away from The Walking Dead. Keep your Kleenex handy; this could get emotional.

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Assassin's Creed 3

Assassin's Creed 3 is freshly in stores, introducing a new American Revolutionary War time period for the series and a whole new set of features and content tweaks to go along with it. New period protagonist Connor Kenway is a half-British, half-Native American nimble, Templar-silencing badass. His fight against the ancient order is a personal one, and it's what drives him to rebuild the assassin's brotherhood in colonial America.

For all of Connor's skills, Assassin's Creed 3 is still a huge game with lots to explore and any number of things vying for your attention. This feature is meant to help you get accustomed to the new face of the series, running through some of the more noteworthy system changes and improvements that you'll be adjusting to. You won't find any spoilers below, so read on for some tips for getting the most out of your Assassin's Creed 3 experience.

A Note About the Introduction

I'm sticking to the no-spoiler policy, but you should know that the first 5-6 hours of the game follow a very specific path. My recommendation is that you stick to the path as closely as possible, ignoring the lure of exploration and resource gathering until the main story arc really kicks into gear. Just hit your mission checkpoints, get your valuable story exposition, and move on to the next bit. If you are still curious, you can check out the first 15 minutes of the game right here. You've been warned.

It's hard to go into any more detail without offering up story spoilers, but suffice to say that it's clear enough why you should stick to the script in the early hours and when it's okay to start veering off. There's just no value in looting every corpse for cash and hunting down all of the synchronization points. When you see it, you'll understand why.

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