One of this Fall’s most talked-about new releases is Dishonored, and the word that crops up in almost every preview of the game is “steampunk.” The assumption is made that the audience at large knows what steampunk is, but it’s not a genre everyone may know by name.

With Bioshock Infinite, which could also be considered steampunk on the horizon we’re probably going to be talking about this genre very often in the near future, so what is steampunk and where did it come from?

Steampunk as a genre of fiction is generally predicated on alternate histories in which advanced technology exists in much earlier eras than the technology existed in the real world. Much of the fiction that’s considered steampunk is set in the 19th century when steam power was one of the primary sources of power for machines, hence the” steam” part of the name.

The origin of “punk” is less clear but usually understood as a reference to cyberpunk, another genre in which technology plays a central or defining role in the creation of fictional worlds, but where cyberpunk takes place in the future steampunk takes place in the past.

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The Miracle Mile Paradox -- Exploring A New Reality In Gaming

Gamers are no strangers to unusual passions, and in reality, April Arrglington's isn't all that weird. In fact, "transmedia" entertainment simply describes what everyone is already doing anyway - things like tweeting while they watch TV, or making up fan fiction on message boards. But for Arrglington, a Panama native who moved to Los Angeles in 2003, it's the embodiment of her passion for storytelling, and according to her, proof that she can see the future.

Her most recent project in transmedia - essentially, telling a story or sharing an experience over multiple platforms - was the roughly ten-week-long Miracle Mile Paradox, an alternate reality game (ARG) involving time travel and a historic LA neighborhood. She served as story producer and project manager for the game, which was equal parts online discussion and real-world problem solving.

Arrglington and I met at a bustling LA cafe on a Sunday night, and her foamy cappuccino and pineapple cake sat untouched as we delved into the theories and practices of transmedia storytelling. She had just come back from an augmented reality conference in Long Beach, Calif., and was looking forward to the second annual StoryWorld transmedia convention in October. There, she and her colleagues at Transmedia LA will present their findings from the Miracle Mile Paradox.

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Tags: Features

IndieCade 2010 Finalists Announced

One of the biggest nights for indie gaming is about to hit when the curtains rise on the IndieCade 2012 Awards this Thursday hosted by Felicia Day. All of the developers from some of the best games you should be playing right now will be there in their finest attire. I will just be looking for the shirt with the fewest wrinkles.

This year, like every year, I try my hand at playing judge to some of the top awards being handed out Thursday night. And honestly, I’m terrible at this. Looking over the list of nominees this year, we have some major games that deserve more than one of these awards. I also have this nasty habit of spreading the love so no game gets more than one award.

The IndieCade Awards is one of the few nights where we all come out as winners. You get to play great games, indie developers get the recognition that they deserve, and I get to meet Felicia Day. Somehow I think Felicia loses on this deal.

And without further ado, here are my 110% accurate predictions for this year’s IndieCade 2012.

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Disney Epic Mickey 2

Not everyone is lucky enough to find their passion; fewer still never get a chance to turn that passion into a career. Passion is that thing that keeps you from hitting the snooze bar and keeps you up to all hours of the night. It feeds you when you forget to eat and keeps you going when all else is lost. And when Warren Spector, the creator of such classics as System Shock and Deus Ex, got a chance to work with his passion, a little cartoon character by the name of Mickey Mouse, he did what anyone would do in his situation.

He turned it down.

As you may have guessed by now, this tale has a happy ending since we’re only weeks away from the release of Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. But as Warren Spector described to me, he hesitated first one the deal since he “didn’t want to make a kid’s game.” Taking the lessons learned from Deus Ex as well as many of his previous games, Warren’s ideas for a Mickey game mixed the dystopian future worlds and morality systems along with the early beginnings of Mickey Mouse where there was mischief, adventure, and when the cartoon appeals more towards adults. Warren describes this as a “low pressure, high fun history lesson.”

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Resident Evil 6

With zombies all around you and the world going to the undead dogs in Resident Evil 6, sometimes you need to turn to the experts. No, I’m not talking about Leon, Ada Wong, or any of the other cast of characters that have survived for decades under the oppressive shadow of the Umbrella Corporation. I’m taking about the real experts, the good men and women who know this world line by line.

Recently, we caught up with Yoshiaki Hirabayashi and Eiichiro Sasaki, the producer and director respectively of Resident Evil 6, about what it takes to survive the coming zombie apocalypse. Even if you happen to be a die-hard fan of the series or just someone picking up the pistol for the first time, these tips will get you through some of the new additions to the series as well as help you get going on your mission to take on the walking dead.

  • Learn how to pull off a quick shot. Hit the ready weapon button and fire at the same time to shoot at the closest enemy to knock him off balance. Be careful though since using a quick shot takes up a little bit of your physical gauge.
  • If you’re just starting out, you might want to invest in the Best Partner skill. If you happen to go down, the AI controlled partner will instantly feed you tablets. You should also invest in skills to reduce damage.
  • Practice using the backwards dodge roll and shooting. Also work on your counters by attacking right before a physical attack hits.
  • For newcomers of the game, check your route guide. You can turn it off in the options if you don’t think you’ll need it. Even with the guide off, you can simply hit the route guide button to get you back on track.

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Super Mario All-Stars

When I was growing up, the Japanese game industry was the game industry. There were fantastic games coming from American and European companies, but the brands we all knew and loved, the brands that were synonymous with “video games” were distinctly Japanese. If you were an American kid in the late 80s through the early 90s, and you played games on a console, you didn’t play “video games” so much as you hung out and “played Nintendo” or “played Sega”.

It wasn’t just the publishers and the console manufacturers. Indeed, most of the truly beloved console games from that era were Japanese – Mario, Street Fighter, Final Fantasy, Zelda, Sonic, Dragon Quest, Metroid, Phantasy Star, Mega Man, and so on – the most popular games in the world were disproportionately coming from the Land of the Rising Sun.

Not long after that particularly gleeful era, Sony got into the business, and all three major consoles were published by Japanese game companies. The PlayStation brand ruled the late 90s and early ‘aughts, and series like Resident Evil, Final Fantasy, and Metal Gear Solid topped the charts (as well as the hearts and minds of gamers everywhere). Even with increased prominence of American and Western European studios and publishers, the console world was still dominated by Japanese companies.

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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.

LIFX: The Light Bulb Reinvented

How many times have you crawled into bed or snuggled up on the couch only to realize that you didn’t turn the light off? I know that happens to me all the time. That’s why LIFX is just what I needed, it takes the hassle out of having to get up time and time again. LIFX are Wifi enabled light bulbs that are controllable via a simple iPhone app.

This doesn’t require a rewiring of your home either, as the light bulbs themselves are Wifi enabled, so they operate independently of your normal switch. You can change the color of the bulb, as they use LEDs that allow for thousands of color combinations and won’t burn out. You can even use a strobe effect, or set them to start in the morning when you have your alarm set for. Since it works over Wifi, you can even set them to turn on automatically when you arrive home.

Reward: $69 gets you one LIFX smart bulb.

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Tags: Features, Tech

Resident Evil 6 Header

Resident Evil is a unique series in the videogame landscape. It boasts a (largely) continuous storyline that weaves through more than 20 games (across main numbered titles, spinoffs, one off projects, and the like), and its themes have remained very consistent – you play as a person (usually a guy or gal with badass police/special forces/super spy training) who needs to mow down lots of nasty undead and or parasitic monsters in scary, nasty, or just plain unpleasant scenarios. Usually, there’s a puzzle or two to figure out, an NPC or six to rescue/converse with, and a whole host of memes ready to spawn from the bombastic story sequences.

But the gameplay itself has been through a series of changes since the 1996 debut. What started as pure horror with arguably awful “tank” controls has evolved into a faster-paced, action-oriented blend, complete with bigger biceps, more explosive cutscenes, and wildly refined gameplay systems (such as inventory).

It came from the 1990s

Resident Evil first arrived in 1996 on the original PlayStation, and it was, suffice it to say, a massive hit. Set in a mansion overrun with undead things, players took on the role of Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine and explored, killed zombies, and solved a truly insane variety of arcane puzzles to best the baddies. All sorts of lore was introduced – the t-virus (the zombifying agent itself), the shady Umbrella Corporation, the need for herbs as healing agents.

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The Importance Of Being IndieCade -- Lessons We Can Learn From Past Games

The heat wave that’s been blasting the LA scene finally broke sometime yesterday as the cool ocean breezes of the fall slowly drift through downtown Culver City. With only a week before the big event, IndieCade proves to be bigger than ever with over 80 games hitting this event. Even with all the articles I read about the games at there, there’s always something surprising awaiting me.

But more than just a weekend of playing games, talking to developers, and meeting the future of our industry; there’s an important reason for all of this. As I might have mentioned before, these events to me represent where were are now and where we’re going in gaming. Every game that makes it into the festival says something about what games can really do.

I picked out several games from the previous festivals to demonstrate what we can learn from IndieCade. So when you head out to Culver City on October 4th – 7th and wait for that amazing indie game, know that there’s also something here that you can learn about gaming and why events like IndieCade are so important.

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Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 6 will soon be upon us, and you know what that means – a quick revisit of the labyrinthine, wonderfully ridiculous Resident Evil storyline. Few game series in history have quite the same pedigree – across the soon-to-be 6 “main” numbered games in the series, high-profile non-numbered releases like Code: Veronica, and remakes, side stories, and spinoffs, the series has maintained a persistent (albeit sometimes confusing) storyline, with a core crew of heroes, villains and everything in between. It’s a complex, melodramatic horror soap opera, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the beginning, there was a mansion.

We won’t start at the very beginning, since, well, we’d need to fill a few features worth. Just know that in 1996, Capcom started the survival-horror magic with a mansion full of zombies, the shady Umbrella Corporation, and the t-virus. After that, there was a citywide outbreak, a nasty minion known as Nemesis, the complete destruction of Raccoon City, a pair of seriously weird siblings (the Weskers) and another shadow corporation. Alongside all the story trappings, early Resident Evil was all about zombies – the shambling, nasty undead kind, as well as the horribly mutated mega-monster type. Then, along came Resident Evil 4.

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Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 Zombies Mode Screens Shamble Forth

Call of Duty: Black Ops was an interesting monster in many ways. Its bizarre campaign was a breath of fresh air at first, at least when it comes to writing, but for the most part it was your run-of-the-mill Call of Duty from the main Modern Warfare releases.

But the reason Black Ops stood out to us the most was the fact that it pit John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara, Richard Nixon, and Fidel Castro against a zombie onslaught in the Pentagon in "Five," the Black Ops follow-up to previous Nazi Zombie maps. It was a pretty strange design decision, to be quite honest, but we're not gonna lie: we've got an even weirder idea for the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and the zombie maps it will inevitably have: oh, yes -- an all-star '80s celebrity cast. Tubular!

Video: New Modes In Call of Duty: Balck Ops 2 Zombies

We've gathered five of our favorite pop-culture stars straight out of one of the best decades ever, and it's zombie-huntin' time. Like, we're totally gonna gag some undead dorks with a spoon.

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Top 5 Apps You Need For The iPhone 5


Posted September 25, 2012 - By Dennis Scimeca

You stood in line and/or spent a ton of money to get your brand new iPhone 5. It’s slimmer and lighter and faster, but with today’s fast-moving tech culture all of that is going to remain impressive for a couple of minutes. The person you’re showing your new phone to is probably going to ask “But what can you do with it that you couldn’t do with your old phone?” or “How this is really any better?”

Here’s a list of 5 apps you can use to answer that question. Some of them are improved apps for iPhone 5, and one hasn’t been adjusted yet but may not need anything more than the new 4-inch screen. We also chose a wide variety of different kinds of apps to make sure you have plenty of ammunition to make a wide variety of people jealous of your new toy.

Top 5 Apps You Need For The iPhone 5


CNN markedly enhanced their app for the iPhone 5 release, changing the layout to take advantage of the larger screen. If you need an app to show off your expensive new gadget, and your audience doesn’t go in for the bells and whistles, you can’t beat the practicality of an easier-to navigate, shiny new presentation of the daily news.

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Tags: Features, iPhone

With the changing leaves and the crisp chill in the air, the hearts and minds of man turn to only one subject – zombies. Instead of preparing for that Halloween party, maybe you should turn your attention to the coming zombie apocalypse. With the night getting longer and a chill settling on the ground, now is the perfect time to warm up your zombie slaying skills with some choice games.

And to get you back into the undead killing mood, we’ve come up with our Top 10 Favorite Zombie Games Presented by Resident Evil Damnation, available now on Blu-Ray and DVD.

So put a couple of extra nails in that bat, plan your escape route, and always aim for the head; we’re about to get swarmed by some of our favorite zombie titles to get you in the mood.

Our 10 Favorite Zombie Games --

Call Of Duty: World At War - Zombie Mode

Killing Nazis has never been easy. Killing them a second time doesn’t make it easier. Call of Duty: World At War hit shooter gold when they introduced the zombie mode. With you and up to three friends mowing down zombies who only get tougher and faster with every round. The twist here comes from the fact that you need to keep your wits about you and those boards on the windows if you hope to survive long enough to get to the next round.

The mode became so popular that it spawned into the incarnation that we see today with familiar faces taking the roles of the zombie hunters. From Danny Trejo to Nixon, the Call of Duty franchise has embraced the darker side of war with their new mode. With Black Ops 2 within striking distance, fans want to know when they head into the fray again to take on the endless army of the undead.

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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.


Running off the wish for “just one more turn”, IdeaLcenter is confident that M.O.R.E. can become that game. Based off of the old school turn-based 4X space strategy titles that brought them together, M.O.R.E. is just that, but in beautiful 3D graphics. Their goal is to turn M.O.R.E. into something that can expand the turn-based 4X space strategy genre into something that modernizes it, but doesn’t make it too complicated.

The game includes a beautiful 3D galaxy map that boast a variety of stars, nebulas, black holes, wormholes, and even a galactic black hole. That isn’t something to be trifled with. M.O.R.E. is attempting to make the genre much more accessible through intuitive interfaces that are visually appealing and easier for players to understand.

Reward: A $10 pledge will net you a copy of M.O.R.E. upon release.

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Papo y Yo Announced For PSN; Puzzle Platformer Coming Early 2012

Some people play games in order to find escape; this may be the first where you’re playing as someone actually trying to escape. Papo & Yo puts you into the worn-out shoes of a kid, Quico, trying to hide out in a world that blurs the line of imagination and real life with his abusive father. As you journey through the Brazilian backstreets filled with the raw chalk outlines made by a child, you get a sense of the boy’s life and how he views his father.

He calls him “monster.” The giant pink beast lumbers around, sleeping and eating most of the time until he touches that moment of temptation. Frogs take the place of alcohol in the boys mind but the results are just the same, violent and nasty. There’s a point where one of the characters in the game actually asks if the boy is alright after one of these episodes. The kid seems to dust himself off while nodding the affirmative. The character asks again, not about the physical scars but the emotional ones instead.

As much of a downer as the subject matter is, Papo & Yo practically fills every corner of the world with colorful sights and sounds of the Brazilian streets. Puzzles take on the guise of the child’s imagination as buildings walk on their own and chalk drawings come to life with a little bit of work. Haunting, beautiful, and with just a hint of the child-like element that permeates every inch of this game, the music alone with worth the trip as you explore this somewhat familiar world with pan pipes and guitars leading the way.

While not perfect, this is a story you need to experience for yourself. When developers talk about games maturing and touching on deeper topics, Papo & Yo certainly leads the way for many others to follow. We were lucky enough to talk the creative director of the game, Vander Caballero, about the story and what it takes to tackle such a personal subject.

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