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Guns of Icarus Online - Steampunk Takes To The Skies

Muse Games came up with a neat idea in Guns of Icarus, a rail shooter for PC/Mac built around the idea of manning a turret aboard an airship as it flies through a steampunk world. The game was released in 2010, and while it was brimming over with cool ideas, some of them felt a wee bit undercooked at the time.

Enter Guns of Icarus Online, Muse's expanded, multiplayer-centric take on the earlier game. Where the original Icarus focused on rail-shooting steampunk action, the successfully Kickstarter-funded Online re-jiggers the basic concept into a team-based multiplayer affair. It's also a bit more inventive than putting an entire airship in the hands of one person. Players instead fill different crew roles on individual airships, so the 8v8 match really amounts to triple that number in human players.

I learned all of this during a recent visit to Muse's New York City office, where work continues even now on the planned fall 2012 release. The trip afforded me some time to try out the game, which is currently in a closed beta available to Kickstarter backers. It's clearly not a finished game yet, but in general the work seems to be progressing at a solid enough pace to make Muse's targeted September release seem likely.

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If there were a Michael Phelps of video game tournaments, it would be Johnathan Wendel, better known to us all as Fatal1ty.

Like the top-of-his-game Olympic athlete, Fatal1ty has racked up considerable championships, supplements his winnings with a variety of endorsement deals, and remains one of the more recognizable names in his sport. He took time out of his training schedule to talk to us about the ways in which eSports has changed since 1999 and how to break into the competitive gaming arena.

eSports Spotlight: Fatal1ty -- How To Break Into Pro Gaming And The Future Of The Sport

It’s been over a decade since leagues like CPL, World Cyber Games and MLG started. How has competitive gaming changed since you first started winning?

In 1999, gaming was at its very early stages where nearly no one was competing full time. Years passed and around 2005, gaming was hitting its peak for payouts, which allowed players to could commit 100% of their energy to gaming.

Today, gamers are winning tournaments and grabbing some money here and there, but it seems more gamers are making money from team sponsorships and their own live streaming. I really like it that gamers can become stars in their own right and not have to rely on a specific team to make it as a professional gamer.

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Tags: eSports, Features

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.

Duck Quest?

The title might be a question, but your support should not. Duck Quest? is an 8-bit RPG adventure that puts the player in the role of a mother duck trying to find her ducklings who have become lost in the big city park. You’ll encounter a variety of characters throughout the area who you can interact with, despite being a duck, like a painter and a hot dog vendor.

The charm of Duck Quest? comes from the simple pixelated graphics that give everything a pleasant and happy feeling. It transforms the quest to find her children into an adventure that isn’t about fear, but about exploration.

Reward: For $5, a custom drawing of your choice from the lead artist can be yours.

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What You Need To Know About Rise Of The Triad -- Return To The H.U.N.T.

The '90s were a fantastic time for those of us who wished only to paint the in-game walls with the blood of our enemies. Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, and a host of others made the scene amidst quite a bit of public outcry surrounding the forever-raging video games and violence debate.

The entire decade was an especially influential time when it comes to the growth of the fragfest as we know it today, and Rise of the Triad, the 1995 project brought to us via Tom Hall (previously of id Software) took things even further and spawned an instantly memorable mash-up of keys, ankhs, and ludicrous gibs.

News: Rise of the Triad Remake Announced at QuakeCon 2012

The H.U.N.T. (High-risk United Nations Task-force) is suiting up again later this year thanks to news straight out of QuakeCon 2012 with a Rise of the Triad remake, and we've got a fond look back on this forgotten gem and what sticks out in our minds nearly twenty years after its original release.

For both players old and new (and the fanatics like me) out there, prepare for your minds to be blown.

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To create something beautiful, sometimes you have to destroy -- or at least go in a new direction. That's been a tried and true strategy for most forms of media, especially video games, over the years. When the same format begins to grow stale, it's time for a change.

And in Hollywood, even when the original is still fresh, it's time for a change too. Regardless of the need, however, sometimes a reboot can completely revitalize an IP that's been barking up the tree for so many years. We've found a few shining examples that give us hopes for the remakes of the future, exemplary titles that have been reconfigured into something bigger and better than we ever could have expected.

Here are five spectacular reboots that stand out from the crowd in more ways than one. Oh, to be a current-gen gamer! You young whippersnappers really are getting it all.

Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV

It's easy to forget the extremely well received Street Fighter IV as a reboot, but it actually is one. The enormous leap between art styles and the massive overhaul the reputable fighter received was enough to rocket propel it into the favorites list of many a fighting enthusiast. Brand new characters like Crimson Viper, Rufus, and the indomitable Seth rounded out the already robust line-up offered already.

It seamlessly combined new and old school sensibilities to create an accessible, pro-level fighter for players of all skill levels, and of course paved the way for Capcom to further revitalize the game in future iterations. It's definitely a testament to how improving on a classic franchise can completely revamp it in ways that open it up even further to a brand new generation of fans, and Street Fighter IV is still going strong.

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MLG Partners With Blizzard

If you have ever had a desire to be the best in gaming and the drive to make it to the top, then you are already familiar with Major League Gaming, one of the top names when it comes to competitive world of eSports.

With tens of thousands of fans chanting your name and millions more watching online, it’s no wonder that every gamer looking to make a name for themselves wants to get on the MLG stage. Since 2002, Major League Gaming has brought eSports to the forefront with competitions around the United States and highlighting the likes of Starcraft II, Mortal Kombat, and other competitive digital titles. If you ever wrapped your hands around a control and dreamed of being the best, then MLG has a spot for you.

For League of Legends fans, August is your month with the debut of League of Legends Arena starting the weekend of August 3-5th and concluding with the Summer Championship in Raleigh from August 24-26th.

But to find out where the world of eSports is heading, you often have to know where it’s been. We were fortunate enough to talk to Sundance DiGiovanni, co-founder of Major League Gaming, about the beginning of a new industry and where the future will take our virtual athletes.

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Tags: eSports, Features

Street Fighter IV

Matt Dahte has lived in both the US and Japan for extended periods of time, and has been an active participant in the fighting game cultures of both countries. He saw a major difference in the way both community gatherings and tournaments were held – the Western tournaments were more personable, with a stronger social and community aspect to them.

Final Roundbats – our organization – is basically just a big party,” says Dahte, better known amongst the fighting game community under his handle, Forgenjuro. “Several of us met up on shoryuken.com, and since we were all fighting game fans, we decided to start holding these get-togethers… eventually, the idea came to sort of team up with Final Round in Atlanta and organize these tournaments as well. About two years ago, we finally established Final Roundbats as a series of regular tournaments here in Japan.”

While the competition is a main draw, they’re not the sole focus of the events. “More than anything, we want the participants to have fun. It’s not just video games… there’s lots of drinking and conversing to be done.”

With a popular US-style tournament series running in Japan, a question comes to my mind. It’s commonly said that the Japanese fighting game players often come to the US tournaments because they prefer the sort of fun, hype-filled atmosphere our events provide. Is there any truth to that?

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Tags: eSports, Features

The man who took out the criminal scum in The Punisher wants you to help him make a video game, Bad Planet. You might recognize Thomas Jane from TV and the big screen, but you probably don’t know that he’s also a comic book writer who’s been working on a story about a prisoner from out of space and a whole lot of spiders.

Bad Planet is the story of two alien forces crashing to Earth. One turns out to be a destructive organism destined to lay waste to the human race. The other turns out to be an alien warrior, our only hope for life and salvation. With the help of Steve Niles, the master of comic book horror, they turned this tale into a six-issue run.

And now, Thomas wants to turn that comic into a game.

The Punisher's Thomas Jane Talks Comic Books, Games and More »



With the help of Kickstarter, you can help make turn this dream into a reality. And thanks to the man behind the project, we got to ask him a couple of questions about the Kickstarter and taking on the alien horde. Hit the jump to find out more about the game and the man behind it leading the charge.

 

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Every sport needs a superstar, and for the legion of fans behind games like Halo and Battlefield 3, they have Tom Taylor, better known as Tsquared. As one of the first champions to work as a coach as well as in front of the camera for X-Play, Tsquare stays in the spotlight both on and off the virtual field.

While you can always catch him on Twitter or watch any of his many videos of Youtube, I got a chance to sit down with the man himself as we talked about getting into eSports, how the game has changed, and what we can expect in the future for the sport and from him.

G4 Interview with Professional Gamer Tsquared »


To keep up with the man to beat when it comes to anything with crosshairs, you can check out the live action on Twitch TV, like him on Facebook, and make sure that you never miss a tip from Tsquared when he shows up on X-Play.

Just to give you more of what you want here’s Tsquared giving you Halo Reach Multiplayer Pro Tips for Countdown.

Tags: eSports, Features




SoulCalibur 5

Every EVO final has its fair share of new, unknown players and upsets that get the fighting game community hyped and talking. This year, fresh-faced Japanese competitor Shining Decopon rose from being relatively unknown outside of Japan to fighting his way out of the loser’s bracket to become the EVO 2012 Soulcalibur V World Champion.

How did he take the title? Smarts, skills, and a lot of devotion to mastering a game inside out. We had a chance to interview the champ, and some the answers he gave to our questions made his victory all the more impressive.

Your play at EVO this year looked like that of someone who truly knows Soulcalibur. How long have you been playing the Soulcalibur series?

I actually started playing the series with Soulcalibur IV. I must have spent four or five thousand hours playing that game.

Why play this over something more recognized, like Street Fighter?

Well, it was actually my friend who got me into Soulcalibur. He suggested I try out Soulcalibur IV. It was actually the first fighting game I really played… and I fell in love with it. I think that’s why I didn’t even bother looking at the other games out there!

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StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm Multiplayer Units -- An eSports Update From Blizzard

All across the world, people are assembling. Propelled by the gospel of their coaches, athletes stretch and strain in spandex-wrapped preparation. At home, people are making bets, making snacks, making patriotic comments -- it's that time of the decade again where indifference is overshadowed by a sudden, unexpected love for your country. It's time for the Olympics Games and all I can think is this:

Something is missing.

Actually, a lot of things are missing. In spite of its considerable popularity and a decade-long attempt at earning acceptance from the International Olympic Committee (IOE), chess is still not a part of the event. Bridge, lifesaving - yes, folks, Miss Anderson was apparently parroting an athlete --, bowling, and baseball aren't activities that will earn anyone medals either. And with things like rugby still absent from the global tournament, will eSports champions ever have the chance to make Olympian gods of themselves?

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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 too long.

Castle Story

If Minecraft has shown up anything, it’s that gamers love to build things from materials found throughout the game world. Castle Story takes that core concept and builds upon it, while also giving it fresh new gameplay and a new perspective. Taking control of an army of cute little builders called “Bricktrons”, you must build your castle one brick at a time using the minerals that surround your base.

Castle Story differs from other similar offerings by changing the gameplay based on your surroundings. If you build your castle too close to the local creatures, they will take up arms and attack your castle. The game then changes to an RTS of sorts as your Bricktrons turn from builders to fighters and follow your commands.

Reward: For $15, you’ll get the beta of the game that will eventually update to the final version.

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Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Preview

The Olympics: spectacular for spectators, but so-so for gamers. It seems much more like the prestige event lends itself better to the real world than our hallowed digital grounds – at least if you take a step back and evaluate our options when it comes to both licensed adaptation and third-party one-offs.

Throughout the history of gaming, there have been numerous attempts at digitizing the historic sporting event that attracts so many viewers. Many have been failed cash-ins or poor imitations with no business having been released. On the flip side, some of the best sports-oriented games weren't related to real-world Olympic events, but a collection of sporting activities collected in one place, such as the quintessential '80s classic Track & Field. These lend themselves well to the Olympic spirit, and the changes made throughout the years to the games released in the genre reflect that of some completely different trends.

What was the first Olympic game and how have they changed over the years? While you're getting primed to watch the games on TV, take in the rich history of the Olympics, video game style.

The History Of The Olympic Video Games -- Bringing The Games Home

Track & Field (1983)

Credited as one of the first of its kind is Track & Field. While not an officially licensed Olympic release, Track & Field released to eager arcade-goers with a bang. Players used two “run” buttons that many events required to be hit back and forth, quickly alternating to allow the athlete to make progress, as well as an action button to perform a final action, such as the long jump. It quickly became a favorite both in arcades and in homes when it made the transition to home consoles in 1988.

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Indie

It’s time to catch up on all those indie games you’ve been ignoring all year. While the bigger developers take a breather, the diligent workers behind some of the best games you’re not playing are still out there churning out more titles. At this point, I could use a vacation just to put a dent in my indie backlog.

Forget ever seeing sunlight ever again. I’m going to get a tan from my PC monitor.

Just to start you on your own indie backlog, here are five titles you need to start playing now. You know, before A Virus Named Tom comes out next week or Torchlight 2 finally arrives.

Dyad

It comes from the Greek origin meaning “two” or a “dual pair.” While you ponder the meaning behind the name, you should at least start downloading one of the best PSN to hit the system in awhile. Described as a “tunnel racing puzzle shooting” game, Dyad encompasses much more than its moniker leads you to believe. Both beautiful and challenging, Right Square Bracket Left Square Bracket Inc. (yes, that’s their real name) created a game that can be embraced by all levels of gamers.

Imagine the style of Tempest mixed with musical mayhem of Rez and you’ll start to touch on the feeling you get when you play Dyad. Streams of color and sound whiz past you as dual tendrils grab onto a random color ball zipping down the tunnel. Stare into the void long enough and you might find yourself entranced by the music and the flying lights. And that’s all right. Dyad starts you off slow, building the game through bits and rules as you pass each stage.

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Announced alongside Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-O XIII, Final Fantasy Versus XIII had high expectations from the jump. Toss in my eternal love for all things Kingdom Hearts, the fact that the creator of Kingdom Hearts was also the director of Versus, and I was sold. But then reality set in, and six years later here I am; with no Versus and with no Kingdom Hearts 3 (which supposedly won’t be started until Versus is completed).

Much like any long-delayed game, Final Fantasy Versus XIII has treated fans to myriad highs and lows; daunting expectations that are dashed weeks later by a statement or press conference. The most recent of these, a rumored game cancellation published by Kotaku, reminded me once more just how protracted Versus’ development has been. So out of sheer curiosity, I threw together a timeline of the game’s development, detailing every time fans held their breath or let out a sigh of relief.

 

For expanded events on a specific time period, click on the plus sign. To read details about a certain event, simply click on it.

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