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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

RAYMAN JUNGLE RUN

iOS ($2.99) | Android (Sept 27)

Ubisoft finally made our dreams come true this week by releasing Rayman Jungle Run for iOS and Android, bringing the magic of the Rayman franchise to mobile and delighting legions of long time fans (and snagging some new ones, too). It’s not a “true” Rayman game in that it’s not a platformer. On the contrary, it’s a runner in the same vein as Jetpack Joyride or Canabalt. There are some key features that make it unique, though, and Ubisoft manages to retain all the gleeful personality of the franchise.

Rayman automatically runs in the game, while you’ll be in charge of controlling his jumps (and other movements later) as he speeds through each level. As Rayman runs, the goal is to collect all the Lums throughout an area. Collect them all, and you’ll be rewarded with a red gem that doubles as a tooth -- collect five gem teeth, and an ultra-tough level unlocks to challenge you.

As for the environment, it’s everything you’d expect from a Rayman title (i.e., it’s jaw-droppingly beautiful on the new iPad). We do wish there was a little more variety in the music section, but it’s a small price to pay for such an insanely good mobile game. If there’s ever been a more awesome console to mobile spinoff than Rayman Jungle Run, we’ve never heard of it, not to mention it’s an almost-perfect addition to the runner genre. And Android users, take note: Rayman Jungle Run got pushed back from a launch on Sept. 20th to the 27th, so don’t despair!

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The Art Of Journey -- Behind The Pixels With Thatgamecompany Developers

One of the biggest games this year turned out to be a downloadable game that you could beat in only a couple of hours. No guns, no bosses, and no equipment to speak of; Journey offers far more than your typical game as you explored the endless rolling sand dunes or the crumbling ruins of a dying civilization with a complete stranger. It’s a game that invites the player to discover a world unlike any other both in gameplay and visuals.

G4 sat down with thatgamecompany's Jenova Chen and Matt Nava, Journey's creator and art director, respectively, at the launch of "The Art of Journey" art book in LA. The book compiles concept art, sketches and more from the game's three-year development, and our discussion touched on everything from thatgamecompany's future games to sexual themes in Journey.

How did Journey come together visually?

MN: With a lot of time. It took three years to figure it out. But you know, it's a great game because it's a new IP. It's a blank canvas, you know? We really had the freedom to do whatever we wanted, and to make something that made sense for the gameplay in terms of visuals. It took a lot of time to figure that out.

What was your inspiration?

MN: Everywhere! But a lot of it was - I traveled a lot when I was a kid. In high school I went to India. I've been to Japan, Mexico, and lots of ruins. Stuff like that. So it was really great that we're making a game about climbing over ruins in the desert, because it's kind of like oh, I kind of know about that stuff.

I got to kind of take my life story and kind of take bits and pieces of it, you know, and put it into the game. And I think that that's what the game became, it kind of became this life story in a very universal sense for people to experience. So these people can kind of reflect in that way.

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Indie Overload -- Indie Uprising, Sense of Wonder Night, Fantastic Arcade, Boston Festival of Indie Games, And More

One big game hits the store and the indies are going to make sure you forget all about it. If you’re not already playing FTL, then you’re getting ready to jump into Torchlight 2 or any number of the dozen or so games to launch between now and next week.

Complaints about the cost of games giving you a heart attack? Fear not. Again, the indie have shown mercy where others have not by launching Indie Royale, Humble Bundle 6, and Build-A-Bundle 3. You’re looking at over twenty games for less than what most DLC will cost you and with most of the money going to charity. And while some may hang up the “Mission Accomplish” banner and call it a night, indie developers work around the clock to produce even more games that will keep me up late into the night just trying to keep track of them.

But I say bring them on. Let’s take on innovation and creativity head-on. I’ve sorted through some of the big events happening around the world and in your backyard right now. With each one, you’ll find a couple of choice games that I’ve picked out just for you.

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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.

Project Eternity

From Obsidian Entertainment, the team that brought you games like Baldur’s Gate, Fallout: New Vegas, and Star Wars: Nights of the Old Republic, comes Project Eternity (working title). This RPG aims to “recapture the magic, imagination, depth, and nostalgia of classic RPGs”. If you take into account that they have many of the people that first created those games on the team working on Project Eternity, it makes sense that they could do a pretty good job of doing so.

There aren’t as many details about Project Eternity out there, but we do know that it will take the best parts of Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment to form something truly unique that fits with the classic RPG nature of the titles. Plus, it’s from Obsidian, so what do you really have to fear? They know how to make RPGs.

Reward: For $25, backers will receive a downloadable copy of Project Eternity and a special Kickstarter-exclusive in-game item and achievement.

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  • Screenshots
  • Cheats and Walkthroughs

  • Videos
    (8)
  • Screenshots
  • Cheats and Walkthroughs

  • Videos
    (8)
  • Screenshots
  • Cheats and Walkthroughs


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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G4 Extra Life Charity Drive - We Need You!

Giving back to the community is easier than ever before. With Paypal, social networking, and a little old fashion sweat; any gamer can help out those in need and have a little fun along the way.

We have gathered some of the gamer-centric charities that you can participate in to help out other games like yourself. From giving a little money or a little of your time, you can make a huge difference in the life of someone else in need. Making a difference has never been easier and you can often do it while playing your favorite games.

While there are dozen of events and organization out there making a difference every day, we highlight a few of our favorites. You’re only one click away from changing the world for the better.

Extra Life – On October 20th, gamers everywhere will be glues at to their screens for a good cause. This worldwide event lets gamers raise money for CMN Hospitals in their community by doing what they do best. You can sign-up now for this year’s event or give to a deserving group. Did I happen to mention that G4 is participating this year? Start giving today.

 

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AbleGamers

"We initially had the idea to build the website after developers at PAX 2011 stopped asking us WHY accessibility mattered, but how to accomplish it." Steve Spohn, Editor-in-Chief of the AbleGamers website and Director of Community Outreach of The AbleGamers Foundation, explained in a recent interview.

Founded in 2004, AbleGamers Foundation has been actively evangelizing the importance of accessibility in games for almost a decade now. Widely recognized as the largest community for disabled gamers on the Internet, the volunteer-driven, non-profit society is aiming to make every game as accessible as possible to as wide a variety of disabled gamers as they humanly can.

As such, Includification feels very much like the next natural step in their efforts. A 46-page, fully-illustrated how-to guide for developers and publishers roadmapping the exact solutions needed to design an accessible game, Includification is the result of hundreds of hours of work and is a collaborative effort between Spohn, CEO and co-founder Mark Barlet, several professional editors and more.

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Guild Wars 2 -- The Other Big MMO Launching This Year

Our Guild Wars 2 guide of guides brings all of our GW2 content together in one neat place.

Do you have the power, the determination, and the skill it will take to reunite the disbanded members of Destiny’s Edge and face Zhaitan, the undead Elder Dragon in Guild Wars 2?

You’ll need every blade, ounce of raw magic power, and the knowledge it takes to stay ahead one-step ahead of the enemy. With our guides, you’ll be able to figure out which profession best fits your fighting style, get a handle on the lore of the land, and get some quick tips for anyone just stepping into the land of Tyria.

For anyone looking for a new profession or just to get a better handle on one of the best MMO’s to hit the PC this year, make sure that you check out all of our guides for Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars 2 Beginner's Guide -- Setting The Stage And Picking Your Race - Don’t know the difference between a Charr and an Asura? Not quite sure if you should pick Norn as a thief? We walk you through all the races as well as the lore of the land.

Guild Wars 2 Beginner's Guide -- Exploring The World, Combat, And How To Survive - Get a taste of the battle system before you ever enter the world. Our guide gives you the lowdown on all the new mechanics Guild Wars 2 brings to the table.

Guild Wars 2 Beginner Tips -- Welcome To Tyria - We start you off with all the tips you need to get into the heat of the battle and on the right track. You can thank us later with some of that sweet loot you'll find in the land of Tyria.

Hit the jump to get ahead of the competition in Guild Wars 2. –Read More--

Guild Wars 2 Ranger Profession Guide -- Getting In Touch With Nature - Don't go in alone. Our Ranger guide shows you the pets you need as well as the traps that will keep you alive in the wilderness.

Guild Wars 2 Guardian Profession Guide -- The Hero We Need - Sometimes support comes with a shield and an even bigger sword. The Guardian Guide shows you what you need to protect your friends and dish out some pain.

Guild Wars 2 Necromancer Profession Guide -- Build An Army Of The Dead - Who needs an army when you can raise your own? Our Necromancer Guide gives you the tools you need to put the fear in your foes.

Guild Wars 2 Mesmer Profession Guide -- The Illustrious Summoners - Dance. Sing. Bring on the pain. This army of artistians can take on the world with their illusions and cloudy clones. Find out how to control their powers with our guide.

Guild Wars 2 Elementalist Profession Guide -- Tyria's Splendid Spellcasters - When you have the powers of the world at your fingertips, life is good for an elementalist. Check out our guide to see what kind of spells you'll weave.

Guild Wars 2 Engineer Profession Guide -- Tinker With Power - Taste the power of steampunk. Our Engineer Guide will put you through the paces as you set up turrets and shine up your glue gun.

Guild Wars 2 Warrior Profession Guide -- The Masters Of Weaponry - It's time to go to war! Our Warrior Guide gets you ready to take on whatever comes your way with sharp swords and a banner at your side.

Guild Wars 2 Thief Profession Guide -- The Fine Art Of Sneaking And Stealing - The Thief Guide will help you sneak in with a deadly knife and a greedy hand. Why worry about what your enemies are wielding when you can simply steal it?


Guild Wars 2 Thief Profession Guide --

We've put together this Guild Wars 2 Thief profession guide to familiarize you with the fastest, most cunning class in ArenaNet's massively multiplayer role playing game. This handy guide gives you all the most important info about the Thief from Guild Wars 2 at a glance.

You Should Play A Thief If: If you prefer to lie in wait for the perfect chance to strike, the Thief might be for you. Utilizing stealth and quick movement skills, the Thief is able to dart about the battlefield, in and out of the enemy’s range of attack. Though the class wears medium armor, Thieves generally want to avoid direct altercations. If you’re into a versatile class that can deal high amounts of damage if played skillfully, the Thief is certainly worth consideration.

Read on for the rest of our in-depth Guild Wars 2 Thief guide.

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Weekly Wrap-Up: G4U Teaches You How To Get A Job In The Gaming Industry Edition

Even with as unconventional as the video game industry might be compared to other careers, the process of applications and cover letters and interviews is still likely in your future if you want a video game job, and the first part of that process is knowing where to look.

For this year’s list of video game companies that are currently hiring, we mostly chose companies that are hiring primarily in the United States. Chances are if you’re willing to move halfway around the globe for a job in the video game industry you probably have a pretty good idea where the jobs are without needing our list. You also want to get to know the North American hubs for game development, the cities and regions that have the highest concentrations of video game developers. It never hurts to know where you might have to move to if you manage to land your dream job, just so you’re ready to take advantage of the opportunity should it arise.

Even if the specific gig you’re looking for isn’t listed on the careers or hiring pages of these companies, if you see a lot of hires taking place that’s the best sign that a company is healthy and growing. The type of gig you’re looking for may not be there now, but these are the places worth checking back with until you see them hiring for the job of your dreams. We’ve identified the primary States and/or cities in Canada in which these companies are hiring for positions.

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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.

Homestuck Adventure Game

Homestuck is a delightfully colorful internet comic that's being turned into a game. To fit with the comic’s fun and parodic theme, the game was designed extensively around parody of other classic game genres. Creating an adventure game based on the comic is no small task though, which makes the $700K goal seem adequate.

This isn’t going to be a direct adaptation of the comic though, despite being heavily based on the events of it. They like to consider it more of a spinoff than an adaptation of any kind. That way, the events of the world can tie into each other, but there isn’t any reliance on keeping the two worlds directly aligned with each other. They can go in different directions if need be. It’s a delightful idea that gamers are sure to enjoy.

Reward: You’ll need to drop a $15 pledge to secure a digital download of the game, which isn’t expected until 2014.

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Weekly Wrap-Up: G4U Teaches You How To Get A Job In The Gaming Industry Edition

As the High School Senior Class of ’13, it is you who will build a path to the next generation of gaming. Already, the ideas in your head will be for games that no one can conceive of in this day and age. You will build a new path of the new games and amazing stories yet to come.

And right now, you’re probably being hit by senioritis so hard that you barely have the energy to make it through this paragraph. Fear not. We have the tips you need to make it out of high school and into the video game college program you want to be in. We even have a couple of words from MassDigi, the people who will be thumbing through your transcript soon enough.

Break out that number 2 pencil. We’re going to help you get to the next level.

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One of the most wonderful events of the year is about to hit Los Angeles – INDIECADE!

And knowing how you drag your feet through all the games already out there, you are not ready. Come October 4-7, the galleries of beautiful downtown Culver City will be transformed into a virtual wonderland of indie games, pushing every boundary and, at times, redefining what gaming can do. Some of the greatest minds in gaming such as Steve Russell, John Romero, and Mary Flanagan will be talking about every aspect of gaming, from developing the future of the medium to Kickstarting your own ideas.

So to make sure you're up to speed, let's take a look at five games you should have played through by now. These games are all finalists in this year’s IndieCade competition, and are all equally brilliant. These are not just game you need to play in order to survive the wild indie parties in Culver City. You need to play these games because it’s your right as a gamer to experience something truly amazing.

Botanicula

Turn back those who hate joy, merriment, or the act of a smile crossing your lips. If you tend to break out in a rash when it comes to exploration and discovery, you might want to keep moving. There’s a brown and gray shooter waiting for you right around the corner. For everyone else, your salvation has arrived...and it’s adorable.

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Minecraft 360

Who knew that finding coal for the first time could be so exciting, every single time? Markus "Notch" Persson stumbled onto a potent formula with his one-in-a-million PC/Mac hit Minecraft, giving gamers pliable LEGO-like worlds composed entirely of blocky voxels. 4J Studios repeated Notch's success on a new platform, bringing Xbox Live gamers a similar experience on their Xbox 360 consoles.

Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition offers fewer features than the PC version does, but it also carries over the trait of being a constant work in progress, a platform in and of itself that continues to grow over time with more content and added features. The first major title update, based largely on v1.7.3 from the PC version, featured pistons, a tool that enables players to think in all sorts of new creative directions. That's nothing, however, when you look at all of the various elements that are still to come.

We recently sat down for a "state of the game" chat with 4J CTO Paddy Burns. The team is extremely happy that their efforts have been well received, but no one is using that success as an excuse to sit back and relax. A long road stretches out before them. Pistons are a big deal, no question, but the additions that most fans of the PC/Mac game are really waiting for can be summed up in two words: Adventure Mode.

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Before XBLA and PSN, “achievements” in games were precisely that – abstract concepts, indicated by a high score on an arcade board, bragging rights with your friends (“I totally beat Battletoads!”), or simply tasks you were pretty proud of. But gaming has always been about “achievement” – gaining levels, improving skill (or scores), reaching the next level, finding secrets, accomplishing set (or secret) tasks. The age of achievements has merely quantified the concept.

Like leveling or those awesome loot reward schedules that we talked about recently – achievements are psychologically powerful additives that designers whip into the game experience recipe.

Halo 4 Achievement List Revealed -- Spoilers, Duh

Achievement Addicts

It’s all about motivation. Some people play games largely because of the feelings of accomplishment – just the same way as others may play for competition, or to escape and explore fantasy worlds.

Achievement junkies are almost definitely in the first camp – folks who like to feel like they’ve done something (and now they get to brag about it). We all have a friend who occasionally buys less-than-stellar 360 games just for the “easy 1000 points”, or have done ridiculous things to finish off particularly arduous achievements – like, for example, finding a safe spot in a shooter, putting a controller in its charger, taping down the firing button for 24 hours, and collecting on their “ingenuity”.

The compulsive achievement fiend is a subset of gamer who has always existed. It’s just easier to spot them, now that their profiles are online for all to see.

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