Culture
7 Comments

Learn to be a Dungeon Master from one of the best this Saturday

The hard working adventurers of Acquisitions Incorporated will be performing another Dungeons & Dragons play session live from PAX on Saturday. The long-running series of podcast and video adventures by Penny Arcade founders Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik will feature newer party members: webcomic Scott Kurtz and video presenter/producer Morgan Webb. The team will be led into the dark and merciless fantasy world by skilled dungeon master Chris Perkins. Say what you will about the bombastic play style of the Penny Arcade folks, the real education here comes from Perkins. He's a veteran of Wizards of The Coast and contributed to the Fourth Edition universe. If you're interested in learning some of the finer points of running a new Fifth Edition game, tune in. The new edition features a s...
Culture
18 Comments

He is Groot: cosplayer drops jaws with custom suit

Comedian Chris Gore bumped into Groot at Dragon Con, and the cosplay is absurdly well designed. Without getting into the habit of posting every cosplayer who does a reasonably good job of looking like certain characters, it's worth pointing out this Groot, who took everything to the next level. It's Friday and we're in the mood to enjoy some superior craftsmanship, and that clip delivers. If you'd like to see more images of the costume or the work that went into it, visit HurleyFX's Facebook page.
Culture
2 Comments

Watch 'Spider-Man 2' actor Alfred Molina discuss his role in Heavenly Sword movie

A new video from the upcoming film adaptation of Heavenly Sword features Spider-Man 2 actor Alfred Molina discussing his role and the challenges associated with voice acting. Heavenly Sword is a straight-to-video movie starring Molina, Fringe's Anna Torv, who voiced the heroine Nariko in the 2007 game of the same name, and The Punisher's Thomas Jane. Molina plays the part of King Bohan, portrayed by Andy Serkis in the game. According one of the film's creators, Molina was brought on to replace Serkis, who "was booked up pretty heavily" while the film was in progress. In the video above, Molina talks briefly about his experience in acting for animation and the challenges of acting only with your voice. "You've got all the skills you would associate with film making, gets really...
7 Comments

First-person Solitaire will drive your grandparents insane

Now you can play Windows Solitaire in first-person. Sort of. Solitaire.exe is the latest creation from Camp Cult. The group describes itself thusly on its Patreon page: Camp cult, at the core is the collaboration of Cale Bradbury and Kelvin Put. Cale has been creating gifs on the daily for the last year, and has a copious collection of free games, and interactive visualizers. Kelvin has educated him self in the school of game design and development as a 3D artist but as of late can be found indulging his curiosities in various other forms of visual and interactive media. Camp Cult launched the page and the game last night. In Solitatire.exe, you walk through corridors of playing cards, which are knocked down when bumped into. In the sky floats the classic Windows desktop. Click...
Culture
4 Comments

What one Twitter bot giveth, another taketh away

Andrew Vestal, one half of the website Gaming Intelligence Agency, created the Twitter bot @YouAreCarrying last month to inject a dose of 1980s nostalgia into the Twitter feeds of gamers everywhere. Simply send the account the word "inventory" or the letter "i" and receive a list of the imaginary items in your imaginary inventory. @owengood the first clue, a pellet of squid repellent, a severed head, a zorkmid bill, a fragment, a damp scroll, a loose mine. — YOU ARE CARRYING: (@YouAreCarrying) July 6, 2014 The bot boasts the entire list of objects available in every Infocom game, among others. Shortly after that account went live, out of the shadows crept @_The_Thief. The thief, a man of superior breeding, lifted a quilt from Charlie_L_Hall. https://t.co/Q0KWz6uUfW —...
Culture
18 Comments

Woman says Wii dancing game saved her life

Britain's Daily Mail tabloid can usually be relied upon to run stories that are hostile to video games, revealing the "chilling truth" behind hit games and their "morally immature" imprint on young minds. But today, the newspaper is running a story about a woman who credits playing a Nintendo Wii game, with saving her life. Late last year, Emma White (36) was playing a Wii dancing game with her kids, on her daughter's birthday, when she suffered a loss of bladder control. Never having experienced incontinence before, she checked in with a doctor. After tests, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. "On my daughter's birthday, it's a tradition for our family to have a dance off on the Wii," she said. "I'd never had any accidents before so it was a complete shock." The Mail is running...
Culture
358 Comments

Tropes vs. Women in Video Games explores women as sexual playthings, violence victims

Tropes vs. Women in Video Games has returned with a new entry in the video series, dubbed "Women as Background Decoration: Part 2," that further explores how non-playable women are used in games. Part 2 carries a content warning for graphic violence against women. It features games such as Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, BioShock, Dragon Age: Origins and The Darkness 2. While the previous video explored sexual objectification, Part 2 is an examination of how sexualized female bodies can occupy "a dual role as both sexual playthings and the perpetual victims of male violence." Creator Anita Sarkeesian defines the Women as Background Decoration trope as "largely insignificant non-playable female characters whose sexuality or victimhood is exploited as a way to infuse edgy, gritty or...
Culture
6 Comments

Let these lullaby versions of classic game themes soothe your troubles

Video games such as Super Mario Bros. 2, Metroid and Mega Man 3 have music many people call ear-catching, upbeat or even classic. Thanks to an album of lullabies from brothers Mark and Dan Polydoris, those tunes can now be a soothing addition to your day as well. 8-Bit Baby is an eight-track album that includes instrumental lullabies of themes from Contra, Super Mario Bros. 2, Metroid and more. According to the album's Facebook page, 8-Bit Baby was created as a baby shower gift from an uncle to his nephew. "As he looked for a cool 'lullaby' album to get for [his nephew], he realized that there weren't any based on classic video game music," the description reads. "So he did what any sensible person would do: Spend countless hours recording his own versions of classic video game...
Culture
114 Comments

'Doctor Who' is now darker, stranger and more honest

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the first episode of the eighth season of Doctor Who."I’m not on the phone. I’m right here." The Doctor is more or less a god in the world of Doctor Who. He can go wherever he wants, whenever he wants and he carries a magic wand that can control everything around him. He’s immortal and, although he can shed his face like a snake’s skin and grow a new one, he will never grow old in the way we imagine it. He has to remind Clara that this is his face now, as she speaks to his younger self on the phone. He has to be seen for who, and what, he is. He needs people. That's what the final plea was about. He's unhinged at the idea that Clara doesn't recognize who he is due to the new face and body. We see two sides of the Doctor in this story: The god...
Pokemon
70 Comments

What it's like to play Pokémon Blue 20 years late (and kind of lose your mind)

I missed the Pokémon tidal wave.In the early '90s, my Game Boy and I were inseparable. Days could disappear while I played pea green Tetris and Super Mario Land and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan. The living room, my bedroom, the back of the family's green Ford minivan headed to Myrtle Beach — where I went, the Game Boy went, too. And then, suddenly and without much fanfare, we parted ways. I guess I grew up or found other distractions. I didn't get back into handheld gaming until 2003, when The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker persuaded me to buy a clamshell Game Boy Advance, which became a Tingle Tuner when I connected it to my GameCube. I missed a handful of popular games during that break. Another weirdish thing about me: If I miss the first stop on the hype...
Culture
6 Comments

'Game of Thrones' is a lot less depressing with old-school video game sounds

HBO's Game of Thrones isn't exactly uplifting, but a YouTube video from Ozzy Man takes the worst of Westeros and makes it much more fun. Press play above to watch the transformation from bleak to hilarious. Be warned, though: There are plenty of spoilers here, so if you're not caught up, you'll want to avoid learning whether The Hound is, in fact, willing to die for some chickens. For more on Game of Thrones in actual video games, check out Polygon's review of Game of Thrones from Cyanide Studios and our coverage of the upcoming episodic Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series from the developer of The Walking Dead. You can also watch a video that gives the same treatment to The Matrix Reloaded.
Culture
8 Comments

A mad genius just created Minecraft — in Trials Fusion

We've seen other games created in Minecraft, now someone's gone and created Minecraft in Trials Fusion, of all games. Here's "TrialsCraft," an adaptation by PneumaticBog484 running on Xbox One. It's not a large-scale map — 17 blocks on a 10 x 10 x 10 creation grid, but the fundamentals of Minecraft gameplay are there. See for yourself in this video above. PneumaticBog says the skill challenge has since been shared cross-platform, so users can find it on any platform, PC included. Want to see something else neat, by the same guy? It's "FPS Target Range II," whose wall-running evokes Titanfall. It features 10 custom weapons — with reload animations — and 30 hidden targets on the course.
Culture
34 Comments

That bucket came from the moon: Yep, Destiny took the ice bucket challenge

GameStop, Notch, Xbox boss Phil Spencer, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson, Bill Gates and just about everbody else have jumped on the Ice Bucket Challenge bandwagon. So, why not the Ghost from Destiny too? And yep, his notorious catch phrase figures in, too. Apparently video game characters can challenge one another to this — in which people dump buckets of water on their head to raise publicity for ALS research (and/or contribute directly to said philanthropy). Warframe's developers took the plunge and nominated Destiny, which now is obligating Kevin Spacey's character from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Joel from The Last of Us and George Lucas, to take a soaking. Additionally, until Destiny's launch on Sept. 9, Bungie is donating 20 percent of the proceeds from sales at the...
Culture
20 Comments

California city repeals longstanding ban on ... playing pinball?

Though the threat of prosecution had been practically nonexistent, pinball had been outlawed in the city of Oakland for the past 80 years. That changed in July when the city amended the ordinance forbidding it. Oakland's strange ban on pinball wasn't so strange when it was enacted, reports the San Jose Mercury News. In the 1930s, pinball machines were more similar to slot machines than what is played today, and it was a form of gambling. Oakland's law was aimed at curbing gambling. In the 1940s, with the introduction of flippers, pinball became more a game a skill and less one of chance, but the game was still, technically, verboten in O-town. The repeal of that ban came in a July 15 amendment to a city anti-gambling ordinance, which the city council took up to address a loophole that...
Culture
0 Comments

Watch the entire first act of the Mario Opera

Jonathan Mann, the musician who created the Mario Opera nearly a decade ago, has put the rock opera's first act on YouTube as part of a retrospective on the show. First performed over four nights in May 2005, the Mario Opera was Mann's tribute to Donkey Kong/Super Mario Bros. creator Shigeru Miyamoto, whom Mann calls a creative role model and personal inspiration. Mann performed the musical another 30 times over the next 18 months before ending the show, citing burnout and concerns over licensing. The Mario Opera returned for a single night in August 2013. The video is of that performance. Until now, there hasn't been a way to see more than just excerpts from the show online. The opening number, "The Welcome Song," is above. The remainder of the first act, including his ode to...
Culture
15 Comments

You haven't played these Pokémon games, but you should

Not only have you not caught them all — you haven't even played them all.The Pokémon-playing community has proven to be one of the most industrious groups of fans this industry has ever seen. That tenacity is built into the franchise's very nature. To fully complete a PokeDex in Pokémon X and Y, you have to collect over 700 discrete monsters, either through catching, trading, evolving, transferring from previous installments or obtaining from timed Wi-Fi or real-world events. To even attempt high-level competitive play requires hundreds of hours of breeding, battling and pure, dumb luck. Despite the truly gargantuan amount of time demanded by the core series, there are fans who demand more — and fans who create more. Since the early 2000s, fans with the knowhow, software and artistic...
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