April 2016

No Reprieve To Be Found – How Video Games Deal With Grief

This feature was originally published on April 27, 2016.

Heads up: This piece includes spoilers for the last episode of the Michonne miniseries, Max Payne 3, and That Dragon, Cancer.

There’s no moment quite like when you experience grief for the first time. I’ve had friends tell me it’s come upon them violently, heartrending outbursts of agony in grocery stores and theaters immediately after finding out who or what they’d lost: parents, jobs, relationships, pets. For me, it was a slow process, like mist creeping under a door and filling a room. I was in a new city a thousand miles away from home. I had sacrificed precious things for a job I wanted, given up one life for another, and news kept reaching me in texts and across social networks reminding me of that. Close friends were getting married. A grandfather I loved died and I couldn’t make it home to be with my family during the funeral. It all built up over a period of a few months before I finally unraveled in the hallway of my apartment complex, sobbing and chuckling and red-faced and unable to make myself stop for about an hour.

It’s a hell of a …read more

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New Call of Duty Teaser Warns ‘We Are Your Enemy’

A new teaser for the as-of-yet unofficially named Call of Duty sequel appeared today. Titled “Know Your Enemy,” the short video shows a battle-hardened man warning viewers his forces will “tear you from the history books.”

“The whole world will bear witness to this: our ascension,” he says. What that could mean isn’t answered in the slightest during the teaser.

Between this and yesterday’s Nuketown easter egg, Activision is ramping up the marketing for an official reveal in the lead-up to E3. Part of the footage from the easter egg shows up in this latest teaser.

Intel on the next Call of Duty has been coming fast and hot recently. A rumored remastered Modern Warfare was all but confirmed through the strategic application of a poop emoji on Twitter. However, details on whether it’s the full game or remastered maps haven’t been made officially available.

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Tazer Bots, Drones & Crime Predictions: China’s Sci-Fi Police Revolution

Eight years ago the world was momentarily entertained by images of armed Chinese ‘Segway’ divisions performing what was said to be an anti-terrorist drill in Shandong province during the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

The crew was panned by critics worldwide, who pointed out that the recoil from discharging a weapon on the knock-off Segways would probably send them flying backwards, not to mention the obvious issue of pursuing a criminal capable of climbing stairs.

While the show of force wasn’t as intimidating as probably intended, it did make one thing very clear: China’s crime-stoppers are not afraid to look a little silly in the pursuit of hi-tech policing.

Fast-forward eight years and a lot has changed, including the sale of Segway’s parent company to Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi, which in 2008 wouldn’t exist for another two years. However China continues to straddle the line between science and sci-fi when it comes to policing, and they apparently still have no qualms road-testing a few lemons.

The World’s Most Cuddly Tazer-Firing Police Bot

Last week the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) and a Hunan robotics company jointly revealed what has been dubbed China’s ‘RoboCop’, a mobile robot security guard capable of firing …read more

Top 10 World of Warcraft Dungeons

Challenging mechanics, magnificent environments, epic loot, and the unmistakably enjoyable absence of a garrison mission table. The following ten dungeons demonstrate the very best of what cooperative content in World of Warcraft has to offer.

World of Warcraft’s Grimrail Depot.

From taking control of a clunky and cumbersome dragon in the occulus, to role-playing through an Ogre Stronghold in Dire Maul, World of Warcraft players are no strangers to gimmicky dungeons. But sometimes these deviations from the standard fare surprise and excite – just like Grim Rail Depot. Set aboard a speeding train, Grimrail Depot exhibited perhaps the most unique set piece of any dungeon in Warcraft history. The cramped opening half and annoying trash keep it from placing higher on the list, but even the saltiest curmudgeon couldn’t help but crack a smile the first time they saw the iron sides of the train fall off their hinges, revealing a stunning landscape rolling by.

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First ‘Clash Royale’ Sneak Peek Shows Live Spectating and TV Royale Changes

Supercell has started spoiling features from the upcoming Clash Royale [Free] patch, so from now until the update drops in a few days, we’ll be bringing you all the sneak peeks so you can be as prepared for the changes as possible. The first feature we are getting is a Live Spectate feature that looks exactly like the Ui you saw at the recent Helsinki tournament. As you can see from the video below, once the spectating starts, you don’t get to see what cards each opponent has. Only once they start playing them will you get to see each deck, a feature possibly been implemented in order to avoid cheating in tournaments. You can also throw confetti on the field as well as check out how many people are currently watching the same match as you are. And we are getting new clan icons, which never hurts.

The second peek had to do with changes to TV Royale. Once the patch hits, you’ll be able to pick what Arena matches you want to watch, a feature that will make TV Royale a much better teaching tool for …read more

Furi: Intense, Stylish Action Centered All on Boss Fights

The allure of a game centered entirely around boss fights is what sparked my initial interest in Furi, an upcoming action game headed to PC and PlayStation 4 later this year. But it was the exciting, genre-bending combat of these intense, one-on-one duels, all rendered in super sleek neon tones and with enemy art direction from the creator of Afro Samurai, that kept me entranced during my recent hands-on time.

Furi begins with our player character, a white-haired swordsman, held captive in a mysterious prison by a sinister character known as The Jailer. After a cartoon rabbit-headed warrior (unsurprisingly reminiscent of Kuma from Afro Samurai) frees him, I led the swordsman up the rainy steps to the first arena. It’s the first of many arenas in Furi’s bold, boss fight-only structure, Creative Director Emeric Thoa and Executive Producer Audrey LePrince tell me.

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10 Best Pokemon: Fates Collide Cards

The new Pokemon TCG set Fates Collide is out in the wild and we’ve got a list of the 10 best cards that you should snag for your deck, not to mention a couple outstanding reprints.

Contributing to this article is competitive Pokemon player Simon Narode. He’s placed high in numerous big tournaments, peaking with a 2nd place finish at the 2013 World Championship, not to mention finishing 7th in 2015. In other words, he knows what’s up when it comes to playing competitive Pokemon.

While our Top 10 list only focuses on brand new cards, we’d be remiss not to mention that we are getting some seriously good reprints that are worth picking up a playset of if you don’t already own them. They are N (with adorable new art), Double Colorless Energy (now in pink!), Ultra Ball, Strong Energy, Devolution Spray, Fairy Garden and Pokemon Fan Club.

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Tired of Election Woes? Let a Cat President Solve Your Problems!

Love trumps politics in Cat President ~A More Purrfect Union~, a visual novel/dating sim and yet another ridiculous game from the developer of A Stranger Comes Calling. In it, players are thrown into the life of a campaign manager who doesn’t know what she’s doing, but who’s been selected to help out on the campaign for six potential feline presidents after humans have been banned from all politics. Which kind of seems like a good idea lately.

After choosing a cat to back, you’ll be sucked into the whirlwind lives of their run for the presidency, and maybe get a little bit closer to these charismatic creatures, all drawn from real cats, along the way. Through an interactive narrative, will you choose to help Dr Nom Noms, DJ Nibbles, Thunderpaw, or the mysterious, somewhat-off Rover? Will you keep your head buried in this game to avoid the frightening nightmare that is real politics?

For more information on Cat President and Oh, A Rock! Studios, you can head to the developer’s site or follow them on Facebook and Twitter. The game is also looking for …read more