Culture
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Art exhibit blends video games with religious iconography

An art exhibit currently showing in New York imagines video game scenes as if they were religious frescoes from the late Middle Ages. The one shown here is "Defenders of Ataros," by Dan Hernandez, plainly referencing Atari's Missile Command. It's part of "Genesis 2014," showing now at the Kim Foster Gallery in Chelsea. Hernandez, notes the Gallery, mixes religion, mythology and pop culture in his work. "Hernandez blurs boundaries, rearranges hierarchies, and calls into question our notions of iconography, collectibles, violence and devotion," the gallery says. The show is running until next Saturday. Other paintings in the collection reference Street Fighter 2 and Space Invaders. See them at this link.

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Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam and Humongous Entertainment return to PC on Steam

Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam and Spy Fox, mainstays of Humongous Entertainment's 1990s line of edutainment titles for the PC, are now available on Steam, announced Tommo, the brand's parent company. The rollout began on Thursday with six titles — Putt-Putt Joins the Parade, Freddi Fish and The Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds, Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside, Spy Fox in: Dry Cereal, Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama, and Freddi Fish and Luther's Maze Madness. The trailer for Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside is above. Additional titles from all four series will be released May 1, May 15, May 29 and June 6. Humngous' line of video games are well remembered by gamers who grew up with them and now are in their 20s. Night Dive Studios, which...
Opinion
40 Comments

My mother made me a gamer, and gave me the skills to deal with her death

I was born with a controller in my hand.At least, that’s the story my mother loved to tell me growing up. She demanded my father go out and buy her an original Game Boy and a copy of Tetris while she waited to give birth to me in the hospital. That Game Boy would serve as my first foray into gaming, with my mother as my teacher. She taught me to make every life in Super Mario Bros. 3 mean something, to bomb every inch of wall in The Legend of Zelda. She left me with a set of tools I’ve continuously used to explore a hobby I love. These tools would also allow me to cope with her death. It's in the family My mother, Deborah, passed away after a yearlong battle with cancer in 2009. I lost one of the most important figures in my life, but I also lost one of my closest friends. My...
News
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Tales of Hearts R to launch in North America late this year

Tales of Hearts R, the PlayStation Vita remake of 2008's Tales of Hearts for the Nintendo DS, will release in the west this year, according to this announcement from Hideo Baba, the producer of Namco's Tales series. A specific date was not given but the end of this video says Winter 2014. Tales of Hearts R launched in Japan last year. Gematsu reports that Tales of Hearts R's retail release in North America will be exclusive to GameStop, but it also will be available as a digital download on the PlayStation Store. The original video on Namco's YouTube channel was later set to private, though it remains up elsewhere. Polygon has asked a Namco representative for comment.
Culture
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See The Fifth Element imagined as a 16-bit video game

YouTube satirists CineFix have done about two dozen interpretations of popular movies as old-school video games, and their latest endeavor is delivering all the key scenes of The Fifth Element in 8-bit — "and a little 16-bit," they say — style. CineFix has a robust series of these movies, including adaptations of Fight Club, Inception and Pulp Fiction (though its recent Happy Gilmore parody was removed from YouTube on a copyright claim by NBC Universal.) Incidentally, The Fifth Element, which was released in 1997, did have a video game adaptation, for the PlayStation, and it was a critical failure.
News
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Nintendo co-sponsors annual White House Easter Egg Roll

Nintendo is teaming up with The White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll on Monday, but the tie-in is not what longtime gamers might think. No, Yoshi is not making an appearance, though he does have a new game out now. Nintendo is instead using its participation to promote its exergaming titles Wii Fit U and Wii Sports Club in conjunction with First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign to promote child fitness and health and curb childhood obesity. Visitors will be able to play the games at kiosks on the Ellipse, which is south of the White House. The Easter Egg Roll is an event that has been held at the White House as far back as 1876, though not continuously. In the race, children use long-handled spoons to roll an egg on the South Lawn.
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Fan-made Morrowind restoration will feature two hours of original music

Skywind, the fan-made project rendering the world of The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind with the engine from The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, has renamed itself the The Elder Scrolls Renewal Project, and released this second development video detailing the progress made so far. The video discusses how crafting (and the tailoring customization option) will be introduced into Skywind, as Morrowind (released in 2002) did not feature crafting. The development team also is seeking volunteers to help rewrite dialogue, and is looking for voice actors with suitable talent and equipment to record lines to make characters less robotic. Volunteer composers have also created more than two hours of original music to form Skywind's soundtrack. To see the team's first developer diary, released in January,...
News
26 Comments

Batman's new animated feature is based on the Arkham Asylum series

The Suicide Squad shows up in Batman: Assault on Arkham, a feature-length animated film based on the Arkham Asylum series of video games. Kevin Conroy, Batman's voice in the first two games of that series (and in Batman: The Animated Series) stars in the lead role. Several mainstays reprise their voice roles, including Troy Baker as the Joker (his role in Batman: Arkham Origins, as well as Injustice: Gods Among Us); CCH Pounder as Amanda Waller (her role in Origins as well the Justice League animated series); and Martin Jarvis as Alfred Pennyworth (also his role in Origins and City). The screenplay is by Heath Corson, who also wrote the screenplay adaptation for Justice League: War, another direct-to-video animated feature that was released in February. The film is not yet rated, but...
News
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Guild Wars' nine year anniversary festivities kick off April 22

ArenaNet will launch a series of in-game festivities for the original Guild Wars' nine year anniversary on April 22 that will run through to April 29. While some of the events have already been implemented, the complete event will open the Shing Jea Boardwalk, the Dragon Arena and Rollerbeetle Racing. Special non-playable characters will also appear, and there will be a 15 minute fireworks display at the beginning of every hour in the Great Temple of Balthazar, Lion's Arch, Shing Jea Monastery and Kamadan, Jewel of Istan. During the anniversary period, the game will also offer players special items that foes will drop. There will be festive items like bottle rockets, sparklers and champagne poppers, alcohol like hard apple cider, hunter's ale and iced tea, as well as sweets like...
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Deals
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PlayStation Store flash sale discounts Braid, Tokyo Jungle and more to just $0.99

Sony's PlayStation Store is holding a weekend-long flash sale featuring 30 games for PlayStation 3, PS Vita and PSP — including Braid, Plants Vs. Zombies, Tokyo Jungle and Everyday Shooter — marked down to just $0.99. Other PS3 titles featured in the sale include Gotham City Impostors, Echochrome 2 and Super Stardust HD. A handful of PS2 Classics and PSone Classics are also just $0.99, including multiple games in the Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon and Red Faction series. Some episodic Telltale Games titles, like Jurassic Park, Back to the Future and Tales of Monkey Island, are also part of the sale. For a full list of titles, refer to the PlayStation Blog. The PlayStation Store's flash sale comes to an end on Monday, Apr. 21 at 10 a.m. ET.
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Cel Damage HD out on Tuesday for all PlayStation platforms

Cel Damage HD will launch on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita on Tuesday April 22, according to Sony. The Finish Line Games' cel-shaded vehicle combat game was previously slated for a general spring release. Priced at $9.99, it is a cross-buy title, meaning that purchasers pay once for access to all three versions. Sony is offering a 10 percent discount for PlayStation Plus members during the game's first week on sale. Cel Damage HD puts players in a cartoon racing world featuring 13 levels, with six drivers, 10 cars and more than 30 weapon power ups. The PS4 version also supports four-player split screen multiplayer. Pseudo Interactive originally released Cel Damage in 2001 for the GameCube, PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox. "As longtime developers, we've...
News
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Splinter Cell Echoes comic coming this summer

Splinter Cell Echoes, the comic book that bridges the gap between Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, will be available as a four-issue series at both digital and at retailers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Echoes, announced in 2012, was released as part of a limited collector's edition of Blacklist. The 88-page comic follows longtime Splinter Cell protagonist Sam Fisher as he travels the world completing missions, but also puts a focus on his personal life and relationship with his daughter. The comic is penned by Nathan Edmondson, who is currently working on Black Widow and The Punisher for Marvel, and will include bonus material with its new edition. Splinter Cell: Blacklist was released last year. For more on the game, check...
News
20 Comments

Final Fantasy 3 could be coming to PC

Japanese role-playing game Final Fantasy 3 could be coming to Windows PC, according to a listing on the German Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body. The listing for Final Fantasy 3 was registered with the country's ratings board on April 2 by publisher Square Enix. The PC version appears to only have been registered with the German board at the time of writing — similar listings for a PC version do not appear on the European PEGI board or North American ESRB. When contacted, a representative for Square Enix declined to comment on the listing. Final Fantasy 3 was the first numbered entry in the series to feature a job-change system in which characters could switch between and level up different job classes. The story centered on four orphans tasked with restoring balance...
News
8 Comments

Nintendo 'portable video device' registered with Korea RAA

A registration certificate submitted by Nintendo for a "small video player" has surfaced on Korea's National Radio Research Agency (RRA). The certification was issued today. Few other details are available about the device, aside from its model number and listed country of Japan. The RRA acts as a hub for radio wave research in Korea. According to the site's description, the organization "has selected the development of next generation radio wave resources and facilitation of their efficient utilization ... all employees are putting forth their best effort with change and innovation." We've contacted Nintendo for comment and will update accordingly.
Video
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Watch 50-plus minutes of zombie-infested H1Z1 gameplay

Two developers of H1Z1 took to Twitch this week for the first time to show Sony Online Entertainment's upcoming zombie-filled open-world online game in action. Press play above to see game designer Jimmy Whisenhunt and technical director Tom Schenck walk viewers through H1Z1. The game takes place 15 years after the titular virus appeared, in a world where zombies and other players threaten your existence. In the 54-minute stream, Whisenhunt, who describes H1Z1 as a "hardcore survival game" with permadeath, and Schenck show off its crafting, day and night cycles and combat as they showcase the wonders and horrors of the apocalypse. H1Z1 is expected to be released for $20 through Steam Early Access sometime in the next several weeks. Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley...
News
5 Comments

Skullgirls Encore getting its first male character April 22

Skullgirls Encore — a relaunch of 2D fighting game Skullgirls — will get its first male character, Big Band, for free on April 22, Lab Zero Games CEO Peter Bartholow announced today via the PlayStation Blog. Big Band, formerly known as Ben Birdland, was a beat cop who "got on the wrong side" of a corrupt police force. After a brutal attack, Dr. Avian and the ASG Lab 8 fixed him up and armed him with pneumatic weaponry. According to Bartholow, Big Band is a high risk, high reward character with power and versatility. He's also the only character capable of parrying incoming attacks. Although he'll still take some damage, Big Band's parry allows him to counter-attack his opponents with combos and special moves. "Many of his attacks will leave you vulnerable if you miss or misjudge...
News
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Danganronpa 2 coming West on Sept. 2

The sequel to Spike Chunsoft's mystery adventure Danganronpa, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, will launch for PlayStation Vita on Sept. 2, publisher NIS America announced today. The game will cost $39.99 and will be available at retail as well as downloadable via the PlayStation Network. Players will once again become a high school student from Hope's Peak Academy thrown into a life-or-death situation — one by one, fellow classmates are killed off — on a desolate island that can only be survived through teamwork and careful sleuthing. Each character will have a unique special ability that makes them the "ultimate" example of something. In order to solve crimes, players will have to match up evidence with classmates' stories in order to determine who is lying — and who is a...
News
19 Comments

The Elder Scrolls Online's guild bank disabled

The Elder Scrolls Online developer Zenimax Online Studios disabled the game's guild bank feature today on European and North American servers, according to a post on the game's official forums. The developers did not explain why the guild bank feature was disabled in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game or when players might expect it to return. The halt could be in response to a bug that Reddit user Mistress-Rarity described earlier today. "Some of you may already be aware," Mistress-Rarity wrote, "but a game breaking bug has hit ESO that allows characters to duplicate stacks of materials in their bank. It is so simple, in fact, that it is possible to do it by pure accident. I will not explain this exploit, but it is the first result of googling 'ESO Item Dupe.'" The...
News
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Fenix Fire launches Kickstarter campaign for arcade adventure Source

Indie developer Fenix Fire launched a Kickstarter campaign for its in-development arcade action game Source, which the studio debuted last week at PAX East. The campaign will end on May 11 and is seeking $50,000 to complete development on the title. At the time of writing the campaign has pulled in just over $8,700. According to the project page, Fenix Fire will use the crowdfunding money to develop the game's soundtrack and bring on an additional concept artist. All funding will go directly in the project, which the studio hopes to launch in mid-2015. Source is set in an alternate dimension in which players must fight back against a growing darkness by taking and using energy from other beings. The game includes puzzle-solving and combat scenarios, and players will have to...
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