The Last of Us was a moody masterpiece, a big-budget blockbuster video game that told a surprisingly affecting story of love and loss. Grizzled smuggler Joel and tempestuous teenager Ellie are two of the most fully realized characters in gaming, beautifully brought to life by actors Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson. Its morally ambiguous ending felt unresolved yet somehow perfectly complete. As much as I love the world Naughty Dog has created, I’m conflicted as to whether I want to know what happens next, worried that a sequel could sully the poignant journey I experienced. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Games (1-10 of 169)
Like House of Cards, Cards Against Humanity is an edgy, decidedly R-rated entertainment designed to shock, titillate, and enthrall grown-ups, preferably while sipping a fine Scotch and eating an enormous plate of barbecue. Maybe more importantly, both the Emmy-winning Netflix drama and the Kickstarter-backed “party game for horrible people” have names featuring the word “cards.”
So it was only a matter of time before Netflix and the makers of CAH teamed up to bring us an all-new party game: House of Cards Against Humanity, which is basically a dirtier, more spoiler-filled version of Apples to Apples. “To research this pack,” the CAH team writes, “we talked with the head writer of House of Cards and watched almost all of the first season. Like many of you, we can’t wait to see what all of our favorite characters, like Remy Danton and Peter Russo, do in season two!” READ FULL STORY
Despite spawning nearly 20 titles since its 1987 debut, The Legend of Zelda series has seen surprisingly little innovation since fans first fell in love with its princess-saving, Triforce-collecting, Ganondorf-defeating formula. Sure, the graphics have improved and new narrative twists and gameplay mechanics have been introduced over the years, but the core dungeon-crawling recipe has largely remained the same. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds — the sequel to fan-favorite Super NES chapter The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past — finally tweaks the franchise’s tried-and-true template, and the results are as magical as a Fairy Fountain.
This 3DS follow-up to the 1992 classic retains many of its beloved predecessor’s elements — from enemies and environments to its top-down over-world — but doesn’t rely on simple nostalgia to draw players in. Instead, it builds on the appeal and personality of A Link to the Past with some of the series’ most clever and engaging design decisions to date. Toss in a vibrant, high fantasy-flavored presentation that benefits from the portable platform’s oft-criticized extra-dimensional tech, and this absorbing adventure may find some gamers abandoning their new next-gen home consoles for Nintendo’s comparatively underpowered mobile device.
Like most entries in the enduring action-adventure series, A Link Between Worlds introduces a defining feature that affects both story and gameplay. In this case, the Hyrulian hero can transform into a painting capable of navigating otherwise inaccessible areas; this could see him morph into a wall mural to cross a chasm or maybe turn into a 2-D painting to slip through a crack. An inventive mechanic that perfectly complements the franchise’s focus on puzzle-filled dungeons, it also looks damn cool every time Link goes from three-dimensional avatar to flat cave scribbling.
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Long before Sony’s PlayStation 4 landed on the front lines of the next-gen console war earlier this month, it was decided it would be a gamer-focused platform, while Microsoft’s Xbox One would be an all-in-one entertainment device. Due in no small part to the latter’s early — but later-reversed — unpopular policies regarding used games and an always-online connection, as well as Microsoft’s own marketing, this was, for better or worse, the defining distinction made between the two boxes.
It’s ironic, then, that I’ve had more fun with the Xbox One’s first-party launch lineup than I had with the titles that debuted alongside Sony’s dedicated gaming console. As with the competition, the Xbox One has no Halo-like killer app. Its trio of triple-A entries — Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3, and Forza Motorsport 5 — however, make a more convincing case for the power of next-gen gaming than Sony’s pair of big-budget day-one offerings Killzone: Shadow Fall and Knack.
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Back at their February press conference in NYC, Sony took the stage — almost tentatively — to reveal their next-generation PlayStation 4 platform. Having not released a new home console in nearly seven years, they were re-entering a competitive landscape that had changed considerably since the PlayStation 3 landed, rather ungracefully, in 2006. Having dominated the pre-PS3 era — putting 155 million-plus PS2s in living rooms — they were now facing an audience they no longer knew, one that’d become increasingly content to flail their limbs in front of Nintendo’s Wii and fling birds at pigs on smartphones and tablets. Couple this shift to more casual fare with PS3’s rough start, and their gaming-dedicated PS4 seemed like a risk.
By the time Sony’s E3 press conference rolled around this past summer, though, they weren’t just riding high on enthusiastic fan feedback and positive buzz, they looked like legit rock stars in light of Microsoft’s early Xbox One marketing missteps. In less than six months, their trepidation had transformed into a confident swagger, one that sticks with them as the PS4 arrives first to the next-gen war’s front line. As a gamer who’s been enjoying the pastime since doing so required tethering a TV to a Telstar — Google it, kids! — I’m happy to report the PS4 is well-positioned to deliver on its console-for-gamers promise.
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On Thursday’s Hollywood Game Night, the teams (Max Greenfield, Ellie Kemper, Kal Penn, and plebian Jill vs. Kenan Thompson, Minnie Driver, Angela Kinsey and plebe Dipal) participated in a riveting round of Celebrity Fusion — in which two celebs with a common name had their faces smeared into each other and presented as art. (So basically, Conan’s “If They Mated,” but on a show with a different title.) I’m VERY ashamed of how long it took me to guess the above beauty, but at least I didn’t say “Boy George..Carlin?” like poor JIll.
Doesn’t take much to fascinate me on a summer Friday! I’m gonna rank these creatures from least horrifying to most:
Pamela Anderson Cooper (not not hot)
Steven Tyler Perry (yikes, but pedestrian)
Steve Martin Short (Tom Brokaw in a wind tunnel?) READ FULL STORY
It’s damn near impossible to simultaneously watch American Ninja Warrior (airing Sunday nights on G4 and Monday nights on NBC) and feel like a respectable human being. Not only are you doing nothing indoors (and watching this of all things?), but you are no ninja. Can you even lift your TV? Don’t even try. What’s the point? You’re a disgrace.
Below are my ill-fated suggestions for “playing along” during ANW — the magnificent Upper Body Beastliness obstacle course quickly winning the hearts and guts of millions of Americans who have less hope than ever of executing a single pull-up in their lifetimes. Rev up your appetite and get ready to live vicariously through these tremendous beasts — and hate yourself more than ever!
OBSTACLE 1: QUINTUPLE STEPS
Retrieve a snack from the kitchen. Repeat five times. Go easy on this one. There’s a lot left to be done, but it’s all downhill from here.
OBSTACLE 2: DOWNHILL JUMP
Pfffft. Anyone could do this. Just ride a skateboard down any railing in your house, then grab whatever’s closest (chocolate?) for support. Move on. It gets darker. READ FULL STORY
Why go out and make friends when you can watch Hollywood Game Night? I checked in on host Jane Lynch and her stable of celebs — this week: Anthony Anderson, Rose Byrne and Stacy Keibler (pictured), Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Patricia Heaton, and Tom Arnold — and must admit I had an altogether good time. The people in my TV kept me company! It was not that sad!
The show’s as simple as it sounds: Two teams (three celebs plus one commoner) play various word-association games about Hollywood happenings. If you tend to feel like a brainless turd during Trivial Pursuit Entertainment, you will LOVE this show. I’ve never felt smarter in my life. So I guess the show was a LITTLE sad.
I still can’t believe anyone would attempt a game night sober. Hopefully they were toasted. Potent Notables below! READ FULL STORY
In the latest admirable attempt to radically alter the conversation around the terrifying Orwellian nightmare known as the Xbox One, Microsoft has confirmed that their next-generation console will allow indie developers to self-publish their own games.
The manufacturer has taken some serious flak for the Xbox One’s curious definition of ownership — and has already had to walk back some of the more controversial policies — but the news offers the possibility that the Xbox One will be a democratizing space in the videogame universe. Game Informer originally broke the news, and Xbox corporate VP Marc Whitten released a follow-up statement, proclaiming: “Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development.”
Microsoft made a big push at E3 for its new game-creation software known as “Project Spark,” and it’s clear now that they’re serious about offering a space for self-expression in their new console. When the holidays roll around, we’ll see whether anyone will choose to self-express on a console that’s $100 more expensive and at least 35 percent creepier than the PlayStation 4.
Charles Foley, inventor of the board game Twister, died yesterday at 82. May he rest in peace in whichever socially awkward color-coded contortion was his favorite.
I always thought Twister was the greatest board game ever invented — in theory, anyway. In execution, I think I was playing it wrong. I have distinct memories of ending up with my face smushed onto my uncle’s stomach and my other little cousins’ bare toes (THEY were doing it wrong) wriggling under my butt as I tried not to fall. I almost always surrendered out of embarrassment. What I really needed to do was grow up, work out, and play with sexy peers so my strategy could become less “Avoid the body hair of relatives” and more “Whoops! I fell down and touched your whole body.” I can still do it! Twister is timeless and shall never be forgotten.
Below, a brief timeline of the button-candy board game in pop culture:
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