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Anime Expo 2011 Cosplay Photos

I assembled a team of cosplay professionals to see if the gaming women of today have what it takes to strut the red carpet of Comic Con. From the practical to the practically ludicrous, today’s female video game characters often straddle a fine line of taste.

Since I typically roll out of bed, grab a plaid shirt from the "day old" pile, while throwing on a pair of jeans from the "week old" pile; I asked some cosplay experts – the mistresses of material, the champions of the cloth, the nerds of the needle and thread – to help me judge the outfits of some of today’s gaming royalty.

Why choose experts in cosplay? Simple. When they look at a character, they see cloth, seams, zippers, and what it takes to turn two pounds of material into something amazing. They just don’t live it; they also wear it to conventions. While they each approach cosplay differently; they all bring style, class, and a passion for video games to the judge’s table. And without further ado, here are your judges.

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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 mobile 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

ANGRY BIRDS SPACE

iPhone | iPad | Android

Finally, after numerous expansions and spin-offs, we’ve got Angry Birds Space, the first true sequel to Rovio’s 800lb. gorilla Angry Birds. If you haven’t heard of it... well, you’re probably allergic to electronics and can’t read this site. So does the sequel live up to its predecessor?

In a word: Absolutely.

In a genre where I was convinced there was no more ground to cover, Rovio stopped looking for that ground and turned their gaze to the stars. Angry Birds Space, as its title suggests, takes place off-planet, and the game shines because of it. Launching your birds now also has a gravity element tied into it: fling your bird into the halo of gravity surrounding asteroids harboring those pesky pigs, and use that gravitational pull to alter the bird’s trajectory and crush those green piggies. It feels familiar, sure, but it’s also fresh, and that’s no small feat.

There are very few people out there who haven’t experienced Angry Birds at least once, and it’s safe to say most of us using a mobile device will spend some time with Angry Birds Space. If opening weekend downloads are any indication (Rovio reports over 10 million downloads in a scant three days), I think it’s safe to assume this sequel’s already rocketed into the stratosphere... and beyond.

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Whether you've already played through Mass Effect 3 or not, if you're a fan of the series then Razer's high-end ME3 peripherals might be just what you've been dreaming of. While Razer has a whole line of collectible Mass Effect 3 gear, this week in Tech Junkies we're going to be focusing on the Razer Onza TE Xbox 360/PC controller and the Chimaera 5.1 headset. Let's get to it. There's an Earth to save after all.

Read on to see what we thought of the Razer Onza TE Xbox 360/PC controller and the Chimaera 5.1 headset.

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Pax East 2010

With PAX East almost upon us, let’s take a look at some of the big games and the things you need to know before we head out to the land of Red Socks and Irrational Studios. Every year, this spin-off of the main convention seems to get bigger. Companies like Sega, 2K Games, and even Nintendo will don their wool mitts as they bring their heavy hitters to the plate as we get a peek of what makes 2012 such an incredible year for gaming.

Don’t forget that some of the biggest games at the show will come from the smallest developers. Spotlighting indie games has always been a proud PAX tradition. The cold winds of the east bring out some of the greatest games to hit the mobile screen when PAX East presents the Boston Indie Showcase. Six developers show off the greatest games you need to get your thumbs on. Why wait? The future is only a download away.

But the most important thing at PAX East this year will be you – the fans. (Also Bioshock Infinite, but we can get into that later.) With a convention of this magnitude open to the public, now will be the first time developers will see with their own eyes the fans finally get their hands on so many long awaited titles. From late night board game sessions to panels with your favorite developers, PAX East brings only the greatest to the players. We’re just here to plan out what you want to see – and to remind to bring your mittens.

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Let’s be frank: a lot if not most of the so-called social games that you find on Facebook aren’t very good. They tend to be horribly shallow or too geared towards getting you to cough up some dough. And some of them are just plain embarrassing, excessively cutesy or childish affairs that make you wonder why you signed up for social networking in the first place.

But not every social game is to be sniffed at. There are some social games you shouldn’t be at all self-conscious about playing - nay - games that maybe you should be playing. Here are four examples of great social games you needn’t be embarrassed about playing – and, before you ask, each one is free-to-play and doesn’t keep trying to make a cheeky grab for your wallet.

Stardrift Empires

Stardrift Empires

Blue Frog, the team behind the Facebook game Starfleet Commander, teamed up with Syfy last August to launch Stardrift Empires. The multiplayer fleet game is now a tightly fought, densely populated affair, but it's still easy for newcomers to get into.

Early missions guide you through setting up your base of operations. You send off ships to raid unguarded resource mines while building up your own, and soon enough you're using those resources to establish a capitol, build up a big old fleet of spaceships, perform valuable research, and even develop some deadly interplanetary attack and defense systems - we're talking about planet nukes, people. It's RTS 101, but it's still addictive to watch your base gradually take form.

Once ready, you can launch your deadly armada into the solar systems and galaxies around you, colonizing neighboring planets and attacking other players - or forming alliances with them - as you bid to make your mark in deep space. And plunder it for all it's worth.

Of course, other players want exactly the same thing, so if your defenses aren't up to scratch then beware - you can certainly lose everything in this game.

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Steve Sucks at Video Games

Steve Sucks At Games chronicles my ineptitude of my multiplayer gaming and my attempts to get better using any means possible, up to and including human sacrifice.

Even nearly 20 years after its release, id Software’s Doom contains a vital message. An insistence on adherence to the two most important lessons in all first-person shooters: Know the Map and Know the Weapons.

Let’s take a trip back in time. Back to the old-school. Back to 1993*. It was a simpler world back then. There was no World Wide Web so only super-nerds had internet access. The PlayStation was still a year from even existing. Arcades were just getting Mortal Kombat 2 machines, and just about every PC Gamer was playing a little game called “Doom.”

Doom

While most gamers only experienced Doom’s single-player and were satisfied with the jaw-dropping (for the time) graphics, gameplay, and gore; there was a multiplayer component to the game. For many older gamer cats, it was the first taste of competitive multiplayer. There were big differences between then and now: 1990’s gamers had to either play over a telephone, or you had to physically drag two computers together and hook ‘em up for a LAN party. As primitive as it was, Doom’s multiplayer effectively set the tone for the next 20 years of multiplayer gaming.

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From the very first pixel, women have helped shaped the video game culture that we know today in Japan. While they’re not quite as visible to consumers overseas, the Japanese game industry has plenty of extraordinary women in its ranks: artists, composers, designers, directors, and producers. Their names might not roll off the tip of your tongue, but their legacy lives on in some of the greatest games to ever grace the store shelves – Phantasy Star, Street Fighter II, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night just to name a few. Let’s take a look at the careers of these exceptional individuals.

Guilty Gear

Emiko Iwasaki

Arc System Works’ Guilty Gear series has been one of the most influential fighters of the last decade, with Emiko Iwasaki being one of the primary contributors to the game’s unique aesthetics and designs. Emiko also had the opportunity to sit in the director’s chair herself, leading the design of 2007’s Battle Fantasia. Not only did she direct the game, but she also created the world, story, and all of the characters – which she illustrated and helped model herself. Though she is no longer with Arc System Works, she continues to work on various media projects, including games, illustrations, and manga.

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I'm The Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor finally crawls out of the darkness and into the light of release. The timing behind it could not be more perfect with Capcom announcing that the horror genre is just too small for the Resident Evil series. With game like Anna, Phobos, the new Amnesia, and Lone Survivor now leading the way; indie looks to be taking up the mantel of making games that keep you awake at night.

Even from the very beginning of the game, Lone Survivor makes you feel weary of who or what to trust. As the possible last human survivor of an epidemic, you try to piece together what happened to humanity and try to survive. With gun in hand and food in your pocket, you venture forth as you solve puzzles and avoid monsters when you can.

This is not a pleasant place to explore, but you trudge on through every abandoned room and puss-covered hallways in order to survive. Lone Survivor brings a strangeness and uneasiness to it that I loved in classic horror games like Silent Hill 2. You might not always understand the trouble you’re in, but you know enough to get the hell out of there and just keep running.

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Hopefully, our most anticipated military games will satiate your hunger of the front lines until Bomb Patrol Afghanistan debuts at 10PM ET on G4. So until the boys of Navy EOD platoon 3-4-2 return, check out these games that will put you in the heat of battle without having to leave your couch.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier First Look Preview

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Release Date: May 22, 2012

Explosions are awesome. We can pretty much all agree on that, right? But sometimes we need to take step back, slow things down a bit, and really appreciate all the hard work that goes into making the perfect military operation. Future Soldier may not be handing out destruction on the scale of Modern Warfare 3, but our hearts get pumping and we hold our breath just as much whenever we see more of this return to Tom Clancy's pseudo, not-quite-sci-fi military shooter franchise.

With controls that remove that pesky stiffness so indicative of the current console generation's first wave of titles, plus an emphasis on teamwork and coordination, we're ready to believe again. Not just in the Tom Clancy brand, not just in military shooters, but also in the ability of strangers to work together over the Internet to reach a common goal. You know, as opposed to them screaming profanities so vulgar they'd make Tarantino blush.

Besides, have you seen that video of Future Soldier with Kinect? Hey Minority Report, the future is now!

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"[Expletive]. There's a chick on our team."

These words were uttered during a DotA 2 match last week, Valve's sequel to the world's favorite Warcraft III custom map. I play a lot, but that was first time I saw my opposition abandoning one of their own to the wolves. Within moments of that first remark, more followed. One dude asked if her sandwich-making skills were up to speed. Another proclaimed the presence of a woman was a portent of defeat.

dota 2

Amusingly enough, he did prove himself a competent prophet. His team was beaten soundly. But then again, they also spent far too much time asking us to commiserate, to join in on the jeering and the heckling. And though none of the malice was directed at me, it was an uncomfortable experience. Even if they were a tentacle-squid on Mars, you don’t sell out a comrade. It's just bad taste.

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Angry Birds Space Announced

Angry Birds in Space brings back our favorite suicide squad to take on and take out those despicable green pigs. With so many Angry Birds flying around, you might mistake this as a part of the epidemic already infesting practically every platform that carries a moving image. Put away those silly breathing masks. We take a look at this new breed of space cadets. Here’s our quick impression of the first world of Angry Birds in Space.

To tell you the truth, I’m not a big fan of Angry Birds. Tossing those feathered creatures seemed so binary, either it work or it didn’t. Angry Birds in Space, however, tosses all of that out the window - only to have that bounce off an asteroid and then crash everything into fat green pig. This new breed of bird learns what made the last one work while throwing in a whole new universe of tricks.

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Prince of Persia

Developers Jordan Mechner, Tim Sweeny, John Romero, Adam Saltsman, and Markus Persson came together recently to talk about their indie days. We all start from somewhere, either as just a dreamer in your bedroom or a tinker in the garage. These superstars of today started out much like you with a little skill and a lot of passion for video games.

Prince of Developing

Jordan Mechner, creator of the original Prince of Persia and the upcoming Karateka remake, began developing on the Apple II in 1978. Though his first game didn’t catch on, his second attempt was Karateka, which Broderbund agreed to publish. He didn’t think of himself as indie at the time, originally envisioning Karateka as a AAA title. However, he noted that now working on the remake as an independent developer, he is taking the opportunity to stay true to the spirit of the original rather than the lavish 3D reboot Sands of Time was for his Prince of Persia.

Jordan offered perhaps the most succinct description of what it means to be an indie developer. “The real objective of indie is to start making a game with no idea whether it’s ever going to get published or how that’s going to happen. It’s sort of just taking that leap of faith.”

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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 mobile 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

SKY GAMBLERS: AIR SUPREMACY

iOS

Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy was one of two games featured at the new iPad’s unveiling event, and that spotlight is well-deserved. This game is a great choice if you’re looking to show off the new iPad’s graphical capability, and it’s also a solid arcade flight game. I hesitate to call it a flight sim, because SG:AS cares not for the constraints of real life: you won’t find ultra-realistic gravity and physics in this title, but it doesn’t matter. You’ll have so much fun playing SG:AS that your brain will forgive and forget those choices almost immediately.

There are a couple low points, namely the atrocious story (or lack thereof), and the game’s seeming inability to deliver a decent tutorial. Some would argue the latter is an egregious error. Since the game isn’t a true simulator, it’s not too tough to pick up the controls fairly easily. There are also four separate types of control schemes to choose from, making it easy to get into the game at any skill level. If you have a new iPad, you must buy Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy. If you don’t, buy it because adrenaline-pumping shooters are freaking awesome, and because everyone loves a good old fashioned dogfight.

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Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games, knows a thing or two about making it in the gaming business. From the very first line of code to the success of Gears of War, he’s been there every step of the way. This man lives and breathes the gaming world. When Tim speaks, you should listen, and he just happens to have some of the best advice for getting into the gaming business.

 

G4 University: Tim Sweeney »

It’s time for you to go out there an be amazing. Better yet, I need you to be the best. And with every journey, you need to begin somewhere. Check out our Career Resource Guide to find out where to start or to find your next step towards greatness.

Keep your browser tuned to G4 all week as we keep bringing you G4 University, and at the end of the week we'll have a guide for you that rounds up all of the information, and gives you the perfect places to start looking, along with some helpful tips.

Pete Wanat

Making sure video games are fun is the envious job of a producer. But to get to that point, the producer must oversee the studio’s various departments, acting as a liaison between the artists, programmers, testers and so forth. That being said, the exact day-to-day work can vary from company to company, as the title of “video game producer” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more than tightening up the graphics on level 3.

“The producer’s job,” explains Universal Interactive Executive Producer Pete Wanat, “is to shepherd a product from the conceptual stage until the game code ships to the manufacturer (or is uploaded digitally). The position is about anything you need to do to get the game made - so if you have to clean the office or move boxes or spend 12 hours on the phone working something out, you do what you need to do.”

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