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Tech Junkies -- Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Keyboard And Razer Mamba Mouse

The Razer BlackWidow keyboard line has now gone through 2 iterations and almost 7 separate models. While it is the only mechanical keyboard that Razer currently offers, it’s also one of the most well made out of their entire line. Some of the changes to the 2012 version include an expanded anti-ghosting set of keys, faster polling rate, and a branded upgrade to the back lighting.

Let's start with ghosting. When you press multiple keys at the same time on a standard keyboard, the computer can read only one key at a time. You can try it on almost any keyboard and see the limitations right away. Hold down two keys, only one survives. During gaming you might be strafing in a first person shooter using WSAD or queuing actions on the number keys in World of Warcraft.

The most extreme example is of course when a player is participating in a RTS game like StarCraft where the number of key inputs per second can often overlap one another. In these situations you will press multiple keys at the same time. The anti-ghosting technology has been extended to 10 simultaneous key presses, which means the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate can discern between 10 individual fingers/keys when you've got them all pressed down at the same instance.

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Dark Souls

When video games aren't forcing us into madness and prompting premature gray hairs to sprout all over our glorious heads of hair, they're not hard enough. If you haven't sent a controller hurtling through the air straight into the middle of your flat screen TV, you aren't being challenged enough.

Okay, we're exaggerating just a bit, but it's easy to tell when you're not able to live up to your full potential, and it's human nature to keep pushing and keep seeking out greatness. It's also an understandable practice to get as much mileage out of the game you likely spent $60 or more on as is humanly possible -- thus, the concept of establishing player-initiated rules and augments to amplify the standard difficulty of any given game.

Whether this is accomplished via purposefully traipsing through an RPG without ever leveling up or treating every in-game death as a permanent one, we'll always find a way to make things tougher on ourselves. There's only a few hundred ways out there to ensure proper punishment is inflicted, as we all know the gamer community is rife with some of the most ridiculously creative souls out there, but we've chosen a few that stand out to as especially brutal concepts.

We think we'll stick to "Insane" or "Nightmare" modes instead, but for the brave souls around who need a little more substantial spike in difficulty to satisfy that savage spirit within, here are some of the best ways we make our games harder.

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Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition

Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition is, at its very core, an act of fan service. From Software and Namco Bandai couldn't ignore the 100,000-strong petition to get the game ported to PC, yet it's been clear all along that the project has required the developers to step well outside their comfort zone.

Not content to phone it in, though, the PC-agnostic studio has spent these last months creating a wealth of additional content that expands the game's sparse, but poignant lore and explores the backgrounds of semi-familiar characters like Artorias of the Abyss and Dusk of Oolacile.

Brand Manager Brandon Zien walked me through an hour's worth of this new content, which takes place about halfway through Dark Souls' campaign and sends our undead protagonist hurtling into a portal and backward through time.

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The darkest corners of the sea are home to an innumerable amount of menacing underwater creatures, most of which we've never even seen before. Video games love to prey on the fear of the unknown and the potential for some extremely gnarly undersea life, and many of them incorporate some rather nightmarish monsters to scare us out of our wits.

Some are simply variations on normal sea life. In fact, you'd better hope with all your might that you see a shark instead of one of these monstrosities. In honor of the annual celebration in which we sing all the praises of said sharks, Shark Week, we've caught five underwater creatures in gaming that are way worse than sharks.

Look out next time you decide to go snorkeling.

Top 5 Video Game Terrors Of The Deep -- Creatures Who Can Take On A Shark

5. Morpheel

Game: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Morpheel awaits Link in a watery chamber that must be accessed using Zora Armor and resembles that of a monstrous eel, only with disgusting gelatinous tentacle appendages and an enormous eyeball that acts as its weak point. Several times throughout the boss battle Morpheel tries to consume Link, but that's nothing compared to what it would do to a human in real life. Link can go back to a previous save point. You, on the other hand, cannot. Making any trips to the Lakebed Temple in the near future? Bring a Clawshot along and prepare to fight for your life.

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When GameShark Attacked -- The Rise And Fall Of Video Game Cheating Devices

A decade ago, cheat devices were a veritable phenomenon. These peripherals let players use cheats that game developers hadn’t programmed in, bestowing players with anything from limitless health to the ability to walk through walls or jump from level to level. Despite an increasing fear of hacking and many attempts from console manufacturers to thwart these devices, they were legal and sat on the shelves of major electronics stores. What’s more, they often outsold the games next to them.

At the top of this phenomenon was GameShark, a brand of cheat devices from InterAct Accessories. InterAct was making around $200m worth of yearly sales, and a mighty chunk was coming from the millions of GameShark devices going at $50 a pop. Such was its success that GameShark became more than just a cheat device. It was a magazine that once collaborated with IGN, and a website that boasted a million monthly users. Forget cheat devices, GameShark was the phenomenon itself.

Today, cheat devices are niche. You won’t see them on store shelves, and you definitely won’t find GameSharks. Now “gameshark.com” redirects to MadCatz, where the name is used on the site’s storefront to sell unrelated peripherals. Ten years ago, such a development was unthinkable. So how did GameShark rise to the top only to be all but dead today?

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Sony GamesCom 2009 PRESSEKONFERENZ -- Zombie Blog!

Japan and the United States tend to be thought of as the two poles of the video game industry, with Japan seen as the originator and the United States as the current, dominating force. But with Europe’s annual Gamescom event starting, we thought it might be a good idea to reflect on how Europe fits into the worldwide video game industry.

Great Britain – Our Neighbors Across The Pond

The United Kingdom is the largest video game market in Europe. The British video game industry has been outselling their film industry for years just like the American video game industry has long since outpaced Hollywood. Unlike in the United States, however, video games in the UK have been held up alongside film and television as an important medium worthy of artistic recognition. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) hands out video game awards every year, and the BAFTAs are a now a major event in the videogame industry.

The UK is generally regarded as the hub of European game development. Pop over to London and you can find Eidos Interactive, publishers of the Tomb Raider and Hitman franchises; Rocksteady Studios, creators of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City; and Splash Damage, creators of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Brink. Media Molecule, creator of the LittleBigPlanet series and Lionhead Studios, best known for the Fable series are both based in Guildford in Surrey. Rare, the developer of the Viva Pinata, Banjo-Kazooie and Kinect Sports games is located in Twycross, Leicestershire.

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It’s Shark Week, the time of year when everyone’s thoughts go out to the most terrifying creatures of the ocean – the bane of surfers, swimmers, frantic beachgoers (and smaller sea life) everywhere: the blood-sniffing, bone-crunching hunters of the deep.

If you think sharks are scary, you haven’t seen anything yet. Rather, the correct term in this case would be “heard”, since today we’re talking about Robin Arnott’s infamously terrifying sound-only game, Deep Sea. In the game (which was featured at the Indiecade booth at E3 2011), players don a World War 1 era gas mask that essentially acts as a sensory deprivation chamber, and plunge into the intensely scary sound-only world of the game.

Deep Sea (v 2.0 Audio) from Robin Arnott on Vimeo.

You are a lone diver, armed with missiles to defend yourself against invisible sea creatures – that are attracted to the real-life sound of your breathing. Hold your breath, listen hard, and try not to scare yourself into a literal blackout – and you might “win”.

We were able to catch up with Arnott and chat about how he created his terrifying creatures, their cinematic inspiration, and his take on why we find horrifying sea monsters so fascinating.

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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.

Steam Bandits: Outpost

It seems like we’re hearing about a new city-building game every day on Facebook, but they all have one thing in common that keeps us from playing them: waiting or paying. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that style of play, but it’s much more fun to pay for something that you actually use, like styling your house or an in-game item. That’s the whole idea behind Steam Bandits: Outpost. It’s not even a Facebook game at all; it’ll be out on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC under the free-to-play model later this year if everything goes according to plan.

If you enjoy the social aspect of it, don’t worry, that’s still there and stronger than ever. You won’t have to annoy friends asking for energy or a rare breed of cow. You can simply work together on missions and have fun. Since the game is free to play, the rewards are filled with in-game items and currency to boost your experience.

Reward: For a $5 pledge, you get 55 iocaine points (in-game currency) and access to the backer forums to submit ideas.

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Video Game Clones: Zynga Gets Ville-ified In EA Lawsuit, Though Cloning Isn't New

Jim Carrey said it best when commenting to David Letterman about the Dumb and Dumberer spin-off he wasn’t a part of: “You know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of PLAGIARISM,” shouting the punchline in a very Jim Carrey fashion.

Electronic Arts has the same sentiments about Zynga’s The Ville, claiming the newly launched Facebook game infringes on the copyright of The Sims Social. Only EA isn’t taking its accusations to the court of comedy, it’s suing Zynga and, according to the company’s statement, doing it for the little guy in “protecting the rights of other creative studios who don’t have the resources to protect themselves.”

But Ville-ifying Zynga for allegedly cloning The Sims Social may not be that easy in court. First, as Zynga points out, EA just released SimCity Social on Facebook, which the defendant says takes cues from Zynga’s signature games, FarmVille and CityVille. There’s a lot of Will Wright’s SimCity in there, but there’s a lot of similar friend-pestering gameplay too. Second, some of the most successful video games are based on other games - where does the line between evolved games stop and cloned games start? The outcome of this lawsuit could lead to a very slippery slope in the video game industry.

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After Valve released their Source Filmmaker for free to the public, the internet became flooded with videos the ran the gamut of shockingly good to ones better left on the cutting room floor. We sifted through hundreds of home-made shorts to deliver only the cream of the crop to your front door. Watch as these budding virtual directors use visuals, editing techniques, and the tools at hand to tell a story or at times simply convey a mood through a well-placed shot or eye roll.

For everyone else just wanting to kill fifteen minutes in their day, sit back and relax by watching the Top 5 Source Filmmaker Shorts that you need to check out.

Practical Problems

In this short, we watch as two Engineers from opposing sides try to one-up the other during a battle. Things quickly get out of hand as each one takes this act of revenge to the next level. Keep an eye on all the action happen around these two as well. The director here keeps the world alive by using quick bits of battle to make it seem as though a game is going on around the two rivals.

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That Indie Column -- Sanctum, Natural Selection 2, The Ship, Intrusion 2, Airmech

Getting people into indie games can be a complicated thing. Describing most games will often leave you sounding like Gary Busey on a caffeine kick in the middle of an earthquake.

With so many games often borrowing from so many genres, you often find yourself rambling on about one aspect of the game while completely forgetting another. Triple-A titles just seem to have it easy, often painting in broad strokes or having a marketing team that can walk you through the basics. And then it hit me. Why not explain games with games?

Names like Call of Duty or Gears of War instantly conjure up images of the game, but mention Natural Selection 2, and you’ll often wind up with blank stares. For this little experiment, I picked five big indie titles along with five games that use similar mechanics.

If you like one, I’m sure you’ll love an indie game.

Sanctum,

If You Like: Gears of War Horde Mode

You’ll Love: Sanctum

Sure, Sanctum doesn’t have chainsaws on guns, but when you have hundreds of bodies hitting the floor, you won’t have time to care. Tower Defense mixed with a heavy dose of shooter action, Sanctum puts you in the middle of the stampeding horde and a couple of feet above it as you run from tower to tower blasting demons and letting your sentry guns play cleanup. Before each wave, you use the blood money from the previous round to set up new turrets, upgrade the ones you already have on hand, or give your collection of guns a shiny new upgrade with more firepower and secondary fire.

While you still have to place towers in certain sections, the sheer scope of the field makes it easy to come up with dozens of different tactics and strategies to clear out the scum coming your way. From little runners to heavy brutes, you’ll need to be flexible with your tactics and handy with a gun if you want to make it out alive. Better yet, bring along three other friends to give your trigger finger a rest. Sometimes the most heated battles come from arguing over the best place to put down a turret.

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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

ORGAN TRAIL: DIRECTOR’S CUT

iOS ($2.99) | Android ($2.99)

Pretty much every older gamer out there has a special place in their heart for The Oregon Trail, a sim game that introduced legions of young schoolchildren to the perils of cholera, dysentery, snakebites, and fording rivers. Now, Organ Trail: Director’s Cut is out for Android and iOS... and it’s appealing to a new generation by replacing covered wagons with station wagons, and a trip to Oregon with a gruesome survival game featuring our favorite undead-izens: zombies.

There are a lot of elements that remain similar to the original Oregon Trail: a classic Apple II look and a delightfully old school soundtrack trigger the very best of PC gaming’s origins. You’ll still need to purchase supplies, keep your party from getting sick and/or bitten, and get your wagon from one side of the map to the next... but there’s a dark glee in Organ Trail that’s flat-out brilliant, and they’ve made some important changes to the game’s mechanics that prove distinct high points.

Other evils out on the road besides zombies also look to slow you down (or kill you). Bandits will sneak around and snatch supplies out of your station wagon as you travel the trail, and sometimes, they’ll even kidnap a member of your party, prompting you to rescue them. Bosses pop up on the shooting screen as you hunt down zombies, and jobs in towns can prove to be just as deadly as the rest of the trail. Your journey in Organ Trail is bleak, depressing, and often miserable -- but that’s what makes it so awesome.

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Magical Game Time And The Art of Zac Gorman

The world of video game web comics is an ever-growing field. While there certainly are mainstays in the arena like Penny Arcade and Ctrl+Alt+Del, there are many other smaller comics that have carved out their own niche.

Zac Gorman’s “Magical Game Time” is technically one of the smaller video game web comics out there (Gorman has yet to put on a massive gaming expo), but is quickly gaining traction and clout in its field. Always a sucker for I-knew-him-whens, I hit up Gorman for an interview to talk about—among other things—Awesomenauts, The Simpsons and games our moms liked to play.

Gorman’s first foray into video game web comics was with a small site called “I Draw Nintendo” which quickly took off when one of his Zelda pieces was picked up by a number of gaming sites. From the beginning, Gorman has strayed quite far from other gaming comics (so much so that I hesitate to even call Magical Game Time a web comic). As he puts it, “It was definitely just about making doodles of the games I love. I never really planned on making a video game web comic. Once it started taking off a little bit I just kinda ran with.” Now his artwork has been featured on myriad gaming sites and has been re-blogged on Tumblr countless times.

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Ouya

In a matter hour hours, Kickstarter history will be made as OUYA rakes in over 8 million dollars of donations from gamers and developers looking to get their hands on the newest console looking to revolutionize the way we play games. Taking the digital route, OUYA looks to cut out the middle man by bringing the games, most of them free-to-play, straight to your TV. Though the hardware remains mostly unchanged since the beginning of the campaign, the software launching with the console has grown by leaps and bounds as more supporters have gotten behind the Kickstarter campaign.

Before it all comes to an end tonight, we got to talk to Julie Uhrman, the CEO and founder of OUYA, about the explosion of interest behind this tiny giant of a console, the games you can expect to be playing when it comes out next year, and why you should think about donating some cash before it all closes tonight.

Ouya Founder Julie Urman Interview »


 

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Gallery 1988 Crazy4Cult Heads To New York City

Pop culture junkies of New York City; get ready for a treat for the senses on August 9. Gallery1988 sets up their temporary shop in the city that never sleeps with over 200 artists paying homage to some of the greatest cult films ever made. From prints to sculpture, you’ll be able to check out how these masters of the craft reinterpret classic cult films such as Harold and Maude, The Professional, and Edward Scissorhands.

While we here in LA have been basking in the glow of G1988 for several years now, we can no longer hold back the awesome. This will be the gallery’s first show in New York City. So show them a good time. Take them out for a hot dog. And make sure that you go visit their Crazy For Cult art show starting August 9th.

And even if you can’t make it during the big opening night, don’t worry about missing out on the event that all of your friends will be talking about. This temporary installation will be kicking around until September 1st. To find out more information about the event, you can visit their website and check out some of the mazing art you can buy right after the jump.

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