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Double Fine Will Help Publish Gang Beasts

Aug 19 2014 01:27 PM | ENZO in Articles

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If you've been watching Unprofessional Fridays, you know Giant Bomb's love for Gang Beasts, the hilariously weird local multiplayer brawler. Even better? Double Fine is making it part of its "Double Fine Presents" lineup.
With Double Fine Presents, the studio takes smaller games--Mountain, Escape Goat 2--under its wing, and provides various resources to ensure the games make it to the finish line and people are paying attention to them.
Besides showing up at PAX Prime next week, Gang Beasts will launch on Early Access on August 29.


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School Giving Out League of Legends Scholarships

Aug 19 2014 08:46 AM | ENZO in Articles

If there's a sure sign eSports is moving into the mainstream, it's recent news of Illinois private school Robert Morris College (RMU) becoming the first university to offer scholarships for League of Legends.
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The sheer popularity of League of Legends means schools are finally starting to take competitive gaming seriously.
RMU associate athletic director Kurt Melcher has been playing games for years, though it's dropped off. The 45-year-old used to love StarCraft, and one day found himself nostalgically looking up the game.
"I was like 'well, I wonder what ever happened to that game?' I was out of the loop," said Melcher. "I didn’t know there was a StarCraft II! I looked into that, and I saw it was played competitively, collegiately, and professionally. I thought 'Wow, that’s really neat!' That lead me to League of Legends."
Just as Melcher had no idea StarCraft was competitively played by millions in the United States and beyond, he was equally floored by how how many had flocked to League of Legends.
Earlier this year, League of Legends developer Riot Games announced the MOBA has more than 67 million players monthly and 27 million players daily, with at least 7.5 million playing simultaneously during peak periods. Just two years ago, that number was 32 million players monthly, 12 million players daily, and 3 million concurrent players. It's clear League of Legends is only getting bigger.
As Melcher continued his research, he started mulling a seemingly crazy idea: make League of Legends part of RMU's athletics program. League of Legend's team-centric nature helped cement the pitch.
"I told my athletic director, 'I’m gonna bring an idea to you, and I want you to be open minded.'" he said. "She was! [laughs] There’s a little buy-in [with it], but once you explain it, what goes into it, and what it’s like, it has all the same elements as traditional sports do. It fits hand-in-hand."
RMU revealed its scholarship program in June, looking to recruit students for the September school term. Melcher has been overwhelmed with applicants. When the school signed off, it tasked him with building a single team. More than 3,700 people have inquired about the program, resulting in more than 130 applicants. Now, Melcher is putting together 30 varsity players and 30 varsity reserve players.
When someone emails about the scholarship, the school's application fee is waived. During that process, RMU asks for their summoner name, which is what players go by in-game. This allows RMU's League of Legends coach to look up and vet the match rankings and statistics for prospective students.
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At first, Melcher downloaded League of Legends to understand the game, but he's hardly an expert. Before RMU went forward with the scholarship program, it got in touch with Riot Games. The studio was happy to help. RMU was looking for someone within the community to give its program legitimacy, and Riot had just the guy: known recruiter Ferris "AGeNT" Ganzman. Based in Chicago, Ganzman was the perfect fit.
The RMU scholarship itself can cover up to 50% of tuition and 50% of room and board for students. In other words, nearly $20,000. The varsity players can quality for more than the varsity reserve players.
Melcher admitted it's taken some convincing for students in more traditional sports.
"Once you talk to, say, a basketball player, [and] I explain it to them, [the response is] 'yeah, makes sense, if that’s what they like to do, why not have an opportunity?'" he said. "Playing within a team and destroying nexuses is no more valid for an indication than putting a ball into a net or a ball into a goal when you break it down, really. What’s the difference there, academically? It’s doing something that you love and are passionate about and combining that with a rigorous [academic] experience. I think it goes hand-in-hand."
The terminology surrounding competitive games can sometimes cause a reaction, though.

"I told my athletic director, 'I’m gonna bring an idea to you, and I want you to be open minded.'"

"There’s no cardiovascular element to it," he said. "I think we all can agree with that. [laughs] But people call bowling a sport. But there’s a skill involved, right? There’s not, cardiovascularly, a whole lot, but it’s a technique, it’s a skill. Same with League. Golf falls around there. [...] But it’s an eSport. It’s an online sport, but there’s definitely a strategy element, teamwork. All those fall inside of that."
Melcher and Ganzman comprise the eSports department at RMU, but it might expand in the future. League of Legends is hardly the only competitive game around, and Melcher acknowledged that. Right now, the school is building what it's calling an "eSports arena" for students to practice and compete in.
"The League players aren’t going to just be stuffed in a computer lab on only off-hours," he said. " [...] It’s going to be awesome. I feel confident saying it’s going to be the best eSports arena university in the nation. Because it’s probably the only one. [laughs]
(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)


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Suddenly, Big Budget Games Love Horror Again

Aug 14 2014 02:07 PM | ENZO in Articles

The last person I expected to give video game horror a kick in the ass was Hideo Kojima.
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P.T. opens with a door that you'll enter many times. Eventually, you'll want to stop going inside that damn door.
When it comes to promotion, there is no one quite like Kojima. His success with the Metal Gear series may have chained him to the franchise years longer than he wanted, but it's also given him the freedom to go batshit crazy.
In case you missed it, at Sony's Gamescom press conference, it revealed a playable demo for a new and mysterious game, P.T., which was available to download on the PlayStation Store. Nothing else was said about P.T., but Sony employees on Twitter immediately began prodding players to discover its secrets. Later in the day, we discovered P.T., which stands for Playable Teaser, is viral marketing for Silent Hills, a new entry in Konami's horror franchise from Kojima and genre filmmaker Guillermo del Toro.
In other words, Kojima asked Sony, a platform holder at one of the year's biggest events, to lie on stage, avoiding a huge reveal, in service of a surprise. Kojima asked Konami to let him develop a viral game demo that's purposely obtuse, in the hopes that most players will never, ever see what P.T. is hiding inside.
Game unveilings are so boring and predictable these days. A Game Informer cover here, a CG parade there. Then, we prepare for two years of weekly trailers. (I'm looking at you, Ubisoft.) There's no magic, no spectacle. Even if I have problems with Kojima's recent character and plotting choices, I always anticipate his next PR move, knowing that Kojima is the closest we have to J.J. Abrams: creatives who respect the art of mystery.
(Let me cut some Abrams haters off at the pass, too. We're talking about mystery, not answers, and a dedication to playing with audience expectation. Watch his TED talkabout the "mystery box" for details.)
Kojima didn't even tease his involvement: his name was a surprise. It's unclear how hands-on Kojima will be with this new Silent Hill, given he was distant from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. But if attaching his name means the team is given the resources to give Silent Hill the revival it deserves, that's good enough for me.
Because lemme tell you, P.T. is remarkable. It might consist of walking the same hallway over and over again, but I haven't been this shaken by a game in years. Only my experiments with hastily made Oculus Rift experiments come close. I measure how well a horror game is working by how quickly I begin backing my face away from the screen, as though just a few more inches will save me from whatever is around the corner. With P.T., one sequence involved me walking down the hallway with my arm nearly covering my face. Real cool, bro.
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Spoiler

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The Phantom Pain Headed to Steam

Aug 13 2014 02:37 PM | ENZO in Articles

Ground Zeroes, The Phantom Pain Headed to Steam
UPDATE: It's been confirmed.
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More and more console games are also coming to the PC, but some heavy hitters remain elusive. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes will not be among those games, however.
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Psst, check the bottom right corner.
A Metal Gear-related event is happening at Gamescom as I write this, but Konami Europe updated its website a tad early. Oops. We should hopefully have more details on Metal Gear's expansion onto the PC soon.


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John Romero's Making a New Shooter

Aug 12 2014 09:32 AM | ENZO in Articles

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It's been more than a decade since Daikatana, but John Romero is returning to shooters. On Joystiq's most recent podcast, the DOOM co-creator revealed his future plans.
Romero didn't divulge many details, but said the shooter is among "several" games he's working on right now.
And hey, while we're at it, maybe we can convince Tom Hall to start working on Anachronox 2.


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My Weird, Addictive Trip into Kim Kardashian: H...

Aug 09 2014 11:19 AM | ENZO in Articles

There was a moment my time with Kim Kardashian: Hollywood evolved beyond academic interest.
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It's 1:30 a.m., and definitely time for bed. But I'm painfully close to full stars during a photo shoot. It only would take a few more taps to get there. Unfortunately, I've run out of in-game energy, which is only refilled by waiting for a countdown timer to expire or--gasp--spending money. As this experiment was centered around not spending money, I watch the timer methodically tick down. It's only two minutes. Who can't wait two minutes? But that one slice of energy wasn't enough to finish the job. The game asks me to wait another four minutes, which I do. But even that's not enough to satiate this app, and real-life Patrick is real-life tired. By now, it's nearly 2:00 a.m.
Spoiler

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Take-Two Delays Evolve Until February

Aug 05 2014 03:46 PM | ENZO in Articles

The latest game to move from fall 2014 until early 2015? Evolve. It's now scheduled for February 10.
Yup.
Take-Two casually announced a delay for the anticipated multiplayer shooter as part of its earning report.
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Capcom's Remaking Resident Evil Again

Aug 05 2014 11:15 AM | ENZO in Articles

The original Resident Evil remains one of the greats, and Capcom's 2002 remake (affectionately referred to as REmake) was terrific. Capcom is returning to the well again, and it's one time where I can't blame them.
In early 2015, we'll be treated to yet another update of the franchise's origin story, and it's headed to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. More specifically, Capcom's updated the character models, backgrounds, and even the control scheme. Yep, the tank controls are now optional. Players can also switch between viewing the game in its original 4:3 visual format and a modern 16:9 widescreen look.
For a brief glance at what's coming next year, Capcom released the video below. Now, about Resident Evil 2...



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The Newest FREE Game in GWG

Aug 01 2014 05:09 PM | ENZO in Articles

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  • Requires Xbox Live Gold membership
  • Two free games released per month.
  • Only one free game available at any given time
  • Free games available on the 1st and 16th of each month
  • Free game must be downloaded during the offer period
  • Games can be kept forever, even if your Xbox Live Gold membership expires
  • Once downloaded for free, games can be redownloaded at any point in the future at no charge
  • Games with Gold will run on Xbox 360 and Xbox One indefinitely

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Available August 1-August 15, 2014


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Facebook Goes Down, 9-1-1 Lights Up

Aug 01 2014 12:26 PM | ENZO in Articles

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Facebook was down for about a half an hour around noon Friday, prompting a flood of 911 calls.
The Clarion-Ledger reported that people took their Facebook frustrations to law enforcement.
The LA County Sheriff’s Office in California even Tweeted about it, saying this is not an issue for law enforcement.

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During the outage, most users were seeing an error message when they attempted to log in:
“Sorry, something went wrong. We’re working on getting this fixed as soon as we can.”
According to the Facebook status page, Facebook acknowledged the error at 12:01 p.m.:
“Facebook is currently experiencing an issue that is affecting all API and web surfaces. Our engineers detected the issue quickly and are working to resolve it ASAP. We’ll update shortly.”
As of 12:35 p.m., Facebook was back online. It remains uncertain why it went down.

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