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Tag: Games (21-30 of 195)

The Mister Rogers of 'Minecraft' is headed for Hollywood

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The newest voice in children’s entertainment is shrill, British, and very, very square. Thanks to the jaw-dropping success of the videogame Minecraft—a sort of online digital LEGO universe in which kids (and more than a few grown-ups) build their own worlds, play in them, and invite their online friends to join them—a 23-year-old former bartender from the south coast of England has become millions of kids’ onscreen BFF.

Operating under the Minecraft alter ego of stampylonghead (a.k.a. Stampy Cat)—a boxy orange character with a la-di-da voice and a rat-a-tat laugh—Joseph Garrett has attracted a legion of elementary-school-age fans into Stampy’s Lovely World, where he eats cake for breakfast, visits his friends iBallistic Squid and a bear called L for Leeeeee x, and embarks on often-silly adventures with dragons and aliens. “I never set out to make children’s content,” says Garrett, who boasts a mop of curly hair and the slight build of a man who spends most of his days in front of a computer screen. “It was more that I was enjoying making these videos, so these are the videos I’m going to make.” READ FULL STORY

Survey finds gender pay gap in games industry narrower than US average

A recent industry survey of game developer’s salaries has found that the wage gap between genders is narrower than the national average.

Conducted by industry publication Gamasutra, the survey was conducted in May 2014 and covered the entirety of 2013, with 4,000 participants. The survey found that men working salaried jobs in the games industry make an average of $85,074 annually. For women, the average annual salary was $72,882—that’s 86 cents on the dollar.

Of course, the wage gap between genders widened or narrowed depending on what position was being considered. Designers have the smallest gap, with women making 94 cents for every dollar men make, and audio professionals the largest—68 cents on the dollar. The outlier is in Quality Assurance, where women make four cents more than men on average. It’s also the lowest-paid job of those surveyed. READ FULL STORY

What it's like to attend a gaming competition that's as big as a rock show

One of the biggest events in competitive gaming is underway this weekend, and unless you knew where to look, you’d miss it entirely.

Organized by acclaimed game developer Valve for four years running, The International is the annual championship tournament for the wildly popular multiplayer game Dota 2. Abbreviated from Defense of the Ancients, Dota 2 organizes players into two teams of five tasked with defending their home base (the titular “Ancients”) whilst simultaneously trying to take down their opponent’s base on the other side of the in-game arena.

It’s a fast-paced genre mashup that reads like a greatest hits of video game favorites—equal parts Diablo, Warcraft, and any one of a dozen tower defense games—yet the result is something entirely new. What results is called a MOBA—short for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. It’s arguably the most widely-played genre of video game, and tournaments like The International are a big reason why. READ FULL STORY

Amidst layoffs, Microsoft abandons bid to be the next Netflix

Another contender for the Netflix crown has fallen.

On Thursday, Microsoft announced that the company will shut down its Xbox Entertainment Studios division, well before any of the studio’s marquee series go live. The news comes hours after Microsoft announced massive restructuring plans that will see the company eliminate up to 18,000 jobs this year.

In an internal memo published by Re/code, Phil Spencer, head of the company’s in-house video game production wing Microsoft Studios, briefly outlined Microsoft’s strategy for the Xbox in light of the sudden upheaval: READ FULL STORY

Google 'debuts' Pokemon augmented reality app for April Fools' -- VIDEO

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April Fools’ came early for Google: Monday, the company released a video promoting a new augmented reality app where smart phone users can hold up their camera and see animated Pokémon appear before them. Whoever catches all the Pokémon gets a job at Google as Pokémon Master. Easy enough, right?

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Monopoly is adding your favorite house rules to a special edition of the game: Join the debate!

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Are you one of those people who likes to make up their own rules to Monopoly? Maybe you start the game by giving each player $2,000 instead of the designated $1,500, or maybe you don’t allow players in jail to collect rent while they’re still behind bars? Or maybe you prefer to be a total rebel and not even read the game’s instructions. But no matter your degree of rebellion, if you’re a Monopoly fan who likes to make a few adjustments of your own, we have good news. Now is your chance to take your own personal house rules and turn them into official rules.

Starting Tuesday and continuing through April 3, fans of the game are invited to join the Great Monopoly House Rules debate on Monopoly’s Facebook page. After crowd-sourcing fans globally, 10 house rules were selected for fans to debate. Then, after the debate, Hasbro will weed out the top House Rules and add them to Monopoly: House Rules Edition, which will be available in stores this fall. The added rules will also be included in the 2015 classic Monopoly game guide.

Here are the 10 rules up for debate:

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'The Last of Us: Left Behind' review: Flashbacks make for captivating game

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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

Presenting 'House of Cards Against Humanity,' a Netflix-approved party game

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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

'The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds' review: Link learns some new tricks

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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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Xbox One review: One box to rule the living room

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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