Tag Archives: Microsoft

My Favorites of 2013 – or Yeah, You Should Totally Play These Games

Let’s be honest.

You don’t care about what my, “Top Ten Games of the Year,” are.

I mean, there might be a small majority of you who do (and I thank you for caring,) but most of you don’t and probably stumbled onto this column one way or another. That’s fine too.

Yet, because you are here and I have your attention; here are my favorite games of the year. A couple of things first; they are in no particular order, these are totally my opinions, and yes, some games were left off because I never played them.

-Cookie Clicker

I sank way too much time into this monstrosity. Cookie Clicker is the definition of a mindless game. You click the cookie. Then you don’t have to click the cookie, it’s clicked for you. Grandmas are then hired, cookie portals opened, you’ve prestiged twice, and you don’t know what you’ve been doing for weeks of your life. In the newest version, they’ve added dungeons. It’s almost enough to bring me back in. Nonetheless, this became a great conversation among me and friends this year, as we all began to click the cookies. It became a bit of a competition, as we all tried to make more and more. We couldn’t even eat them if we wanted to. It was a weird time for all of us.

Cookie Clicker

-Rayman Legends

This is the best 2D platformer in years. Yeah, I throwing it up against that New Super Mario Bros. nonsense. Rayman Origins was a surprise when it came out. It had old school difficulty, tight controls, and a fantastic art style. Fast forward to this year. Legends comes out with even tighter controls, a better perfected difficulty curve, and improved art that makes your jaw drop. It was a wonderful throwback to a simpler time of gaming; and when played with friends, one of the best co-op experiences of the year. Did I mention there were musical levels? Yeah, those were cool too.

-DmC

Man, I love Ninja Theory. Heavenly Sword was a fun, if flawed game. Enslaved really sold me on how that studio can tell a story. Now, Capcom gave them the reigns to Devil May Cry. This game is the definition of metal. The music hits hard, the action hits harder, and even the environment tries to kill you. They even give you a story that actually makes sense and makes you care about the world and these characters. I really can’t emphasize how much I dug the art style this game has. It oozes character and is easily one of the more visually diverse games I played this year. It also has one of the best boss fight encounters in a game in who knows how long. You fight Fox News. Seriously. Youtube it.

-Injustice

I love fighting games. I love DC Comics. Do I need to say more? LOOK AT ALL THE COSTUMES!!!!

-Tomb Raider

This was a bit of a surprise. Not that I wasn’t expecting the game to be good, but that I would enjoy it as much as I did. Tomb Raider goes back to the beginning of our heroine’s story and gives us a new take on the classic franchise. It’s a story about the loss of innocence as much as it is about Lara exploring this lost island. Gameplay wise, it’s less Uncharted and  more Arkham Asylum, but the change was a good one. Uncharted had already out Tomb Raider’ed Tomb Raider, and the game had to do something different. Yeah, I think we all could have done with more raiding of tombs, but let’s save that for the sequel. Also, the game gave us TressFX…that’s awesome.

-Resogun

I just want to say upfront that I am terrible at this game, but man is it addictive. From the moment that it yells at you to, “save the last human,” you are sucked into this visually stunning arcade homage to games like Defender. Between the leaderboards, the multiple ships, and challenge levels; Resogun is one that I keep coming back to on my PS4. There’s also voxels…all the voxels

-Grand Theft Auto 5

Like you’re surprised that I put this here. GTAV gives the player a world to play in. You can go to therapy, bike, golf, steal a tanker truck, dive for treasure, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The game also gave us the most insane, over the top, and possibly evil character in existence; Trevor. Dear lord, I love Trevor. Not because of the terrible malcontent that he is; but because how much he doesn’t care and revels in it. GTAV is a mixed bag for most people. Despite it’s somewhat lackluster mission structure and over the top maybe-it’s-satire-or-maybe-they’re-just-crude humor; I found something to enjoy there.

-Bioshock Infinite

Elizabeth. The Songbird. God Only Knows. There are so many magical moments in Bioshock Infinite that it is hard to narrow down what really grabbed onto me. Even though the story may fall apart towards the end, the roller coaster that Infinite takes its players on is a wonderful one. From your baptism into Colombia to the first time you meet Elizabeth, Bioshock Infinite takes the player on an emotional journey that goes places few games dare to go.

-Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

Being a pirate and terrorizing the sea is completely fantastic. Sailing around, searching for treasure, and razing ships just hits a chord with me…albeit an evidently sinister one. From the sea shanties, to the well created locales, the game’s atmosphere is designed to bring you into that world. What’s more amazing is that this game brought be back into Assassin’s Creed. ACIII was a terrible mess, and I had sworn off any future installments because of the foul taste that it had left. Yet, as the reviews came in, and the word of mouth spread, I found myself looking at Black Flag. I’m really glad I did. Playing it on the PS4, the graphics are gorgeous and sound design is incredible. Nothing is more terrifying than the thunder of a rogue wave coming at you in surround sound. More than anything, the game is simply fun.

-The Last of Us

How could this not be on my list? The Last of Us is an incredible experience. Joel and Ellie’s story is one of heartache, anger, and loss. It is a story of a broken world filled with broken people; where even the best of intentions ends in pain. There is no happy ending, but there is resolution. It’s easily one the top games of the generation. The gameplay and the story come together in ways that few games do; and it draws the player deeper because of it. For me, this is the reason why I love gaming; and why I believe that this is a growing art form. The Last of Us made me laugh, cry, and rage with its characters; and there were nights where I had to stop playing because I was so emotionally drained. I can’t remember any game in recent memory that has had that sort of effect on me. I cannot recommend this game enough. If you have a Playstation 3, you need to play The Last of Us.

So there you have it; the games I enjoyed this year. There are some great ones that I didn’t get around to for various reasons, but you should play:

-The Stanley Parable

-Gone Home

-Super Mario 3D World

-Papers, Please

Nonetheless, last year was a great year for gaming and this year is shaping up to be something special too. Here’s to 2014 and the magic it will invariably bring!

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How Bad Off is the WiiU and other Sales Numbers

Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have all been throwing around numbers the last couple of months.

-3 million Xbox Ones

-4.2 millions PS4s

-Umm…I know someone who owns a WiiU*

Yet, what do all of these actually mean? What’s the difference between, “sell through,” and, “sell in?” Is it that much of a lead? How far behind is Nintendo, actually?

IGN has a great breakdown filled with amazing charts and graphs to help answer all the questions. So, if you find all that interesting; swing by and give it a look.

 

You can read it right HERE

 

*I actually don’t know anyone who owns a WiiU

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Grand Theft Diary – Entry Two

I Need a New Shrink

 

I’ve been seeing  a psychiatrist for my anger management problems. I figure, for a guy who has the occasional psychotic tendency, it’s probably good to go ahead and talk to someone about all that you are going through. I’d like to think that we’ve had a couple of breakthroughs, but it’s hard to say.

 

Most recently, I had relapsed into some…well…let’s just say I was being a ne’er-do-well. After laying everything out for my doc, he said that I was a prime candidate for buying my sessions in bulk….

 

…because I obviously have a lot of issues

 

…and he’s a money grubbing piece of ______ .

 

This obviously didn’t put me in a good place and he and I had, what is becoming quite a regular occurrence, a yelling match. This ended with me storming out.  As left his place, in a fit of rage, did what only came natural…

 

I stole his red sports car.

 

Yeah, it was petty, but it definitely put me in a better place. Hell, I saw someone get mugged and I got their purse back for them. It was a kind gesture, for sure.

 

Albeit, I ran the thief over…and then backed over him…a couple of times..

 

but nonetheless…

 

maybe this therapy thing is working after all.

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“At the risk of sounding over-optimistic, I think there is a huge benefit for the industry overall in having two platforms launch very close together…It creates a large focus on our form of entertainment that wouldn’t exist unless there were these two powerful organizations, both playing in the same space.

Sony’s Andrew House on this Holiday’s Console War…

Well, He’s clearly feeling pretty positive…

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes and What Could They Mean

The XBOX ONE is not the system that was announced months ago.  So many things have changed since that initial showcase.  It is no longer “always-on,” it can now play used games, and even most recently, it no longer needs the Kinect 2.0 to function.  For all intents and purposes, the system that was promised initially is no more.  What we have now is a system that is nearly identical to Sony’s PS4.  What does this mean? For gamers, for casual players, and for the future?

 

For Gamers

 

Regardless of your feelings towards Sony or Microsoft, this is a win for all of us.  With all of the focus now off hardware considerations, it is now a conversation about the games.  Though most games are not exclusive to any one console, those that are become of even greater importance to the fanboy audience.  Do you want to play Titanfall? Does Infamous Second Son speak to your sensibilities?  Once again, we can talk about the games, and not the drama surrounding the systems and their issues.  It will make this holiday all the more interesting; especially as parents find out what their kids’ friends are playing.  Speaking of…

For Casuals

 

Well, it means that the holiday marketing for each is going to be very important.  Now that both systems are seemingly on an equal playing field (sans price), it will be up to the PR departments to make sure that Mom and Pop know which system is the “right” choice.  Sony’s price point might not make that much of a difference when Joe Average knows that he and his buddies have always played Madden on the Xbox.  Sony will have to show why PSN is the better choice now, and Microsoft will need to remind gamers why they are on top when it comes to online play.  The X1 will also have a possible edge in the family market with the Kinect 2.0, but that speculative at best, especially now that the Kinect is no longer mandatory…

For the Future

 

Eventually, everything will be digital.  For better or for worse, Microsoft’s vision of that future will not come this fall.  The changes that have been made have completely wiped out any chance of some of the more interesting and genuinely cool features the X1 had initially promised.  Who knows what gaming would have looked like in a couple of years had the system launched as intended?  Nonetheless, this is world we live in, and we will get to see this fall how this all plays out.  My money is still on Sony, but never count Microsoft out.  They were backed into a corner and been coming back swinging since E3.  This fall will be a slugfest; and I couldn’t be more excited.

 

For Now…

We wait and see..

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Here are Some Reasons to NOT get a New Console This Fall

I know. I know.

 

We’re all excited for what is coming out this fall.  Regardless of your feelings on which one you may think is better or which one you may be purchasing, this holiday is a big deal because of the launches of the Playstation 4 and the XBOXONE.  They each have a pretty solid launch lineup, and adopting early is a guaranteed “in” to the conversations that will be circulating the industry.  Yet, despite all that; there are some pretty solid reasons for not grabbing one on day one.

 

Games, Games, and Games…

 

Like last generation, both platforms are still going to be releasing new products on each of their previous gen systems, and many of those games have the potential to be amazing experiences.  There are titles coming out, big and small, that will be only coming out on the 360 and PS3.  Games with names like, Grand Theft Auto V, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Beyond: Two Souls, Puppeteer, and Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus.  These are titles that will still have an impact, but won’t be on their newer big brothers (or sisters if you prefer.)  I am just as excited for these titles as I am for some of the big launch titles.  Both companies are making an excellent case for you to upgrade this fall, but they are giving you an equally compelling case to make sure that you hold onto your old system as well.

 

 

The Possibilities of New Hardware

 

I know that this sounds like a positive…and it is; but do we all need to be reminded of the “red ring of death?”  For all the excitement that builds around a new console launch, we all seem to forget the problems that happen.  I know people who went through four 360s, and people whose launch model PS3s ran as hot as a jet engine.  These types of problems happen at the beginning of a life cycle.  Hardware will always have kinks to be worked out, and there will always be a small number of people who draw the proverbial “short straw,” and end up with a dud.  It completely sucks, but statistically speaking; it is bound to happen.  Buying a new console has the possibility of being like russian roulette, and it can be just as nerve wracking.

 

 

 

Cross-Gen, Split-Gen, but is it Really Next-Gen?

 

The interesting thing about a launch are the games that seem to be on both sets of systems.  This year games like Assassin’s Creed IV, Watch Dogs, Fifa, Call of Duty, and many more will be on both the old and next generation systems.  I won’t deny that the PS4 and XBOXONE versions will be prettier, and probably have some more features than their older counterparts; but for some that isn’t enough to justify a new console purchase.  This can be especially true when you think of the horror stories from last launch, games like GUN, Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland, and Just Cause that were just higher resolution ports of the other versions.  We’re not going to truly see some actual “next-gen” gaming until next year, when we start to see games that were made exclusively for the new systems from the ground up.  Until then, these split-gen games only muddy the waters and make the decision to upgrade a difficult one.

 

Price

 

Lastly, do you simply have the money?  With all the above reasons, do you really want to drop anywhere from $400-$600 on a new system this fall?  In the end, I guess you weigh all the previous factors together and factor them in to this one final decision.  So, in the end, it all comes down to spending your hard earned cash.  Is it worth it?

 

So there you go; my attempt to talk you out of buying the “new hotness” this fall.  Albeit, I am getting a PS4, and my own arguments mean nothing to me.  So, what are you doing this holiday?  Are you sticking with your old system or taking the next gen dive? Comment below or just use the nifty poll I put up. (Also, this was our 101st post, so thanks everyone for supporting us thus far and continuing to share us with your friends.  Hopefully we’ll still be doing this for another 100!)

 

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“What is being positioned as an excellent entertainment device can be just as enticing for you and your small business. In fact, it’s entirely justifiable to make the Xbox One a business expense. The Xbox One, priced at $499, is an affordable option for small business owners, as there are many features built into the console that could help it rival even the most modest of video conferencing and networking platforms.”

 

Marques Lyons -Microsoft XBOX MVP and Director of Consumer Camp

It also plays games, right?

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Conan Goes to E3

Well, leave it to Conan O’Brien to really figure out what was going on at this year’s E3…

 

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Breaking Down Mattrick’s Exit

GamesIndustry has a great critique of what Mattrick’s exit from Microsoft means for the company and his future.  It’s a bit of a long read, but definitely worth it.

 

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-07-02-mattricks-departure-will-be-xbox-ones-pivot-point

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Best Things to Do During the Summer Game Drought..

Well, it’s the summer again, and that means absolutely nothing is coming out anytime soon!  (This is especially true this year because of the upcoming console launches.)  Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and not be bored.  Here is our, Best Things to Do During the Summer (When Nothing Seems to be Coming Out)

 

1) Play The Last of Us

Seriously; why have you all not played this yet?  This is the frontrunner for game of the generation and is easily Playstation 3’s best exclusive game.  It will take you on an emotional roller-coaster and leave you wondering what all that was about.  I refuse to speak of any of the game’s narrative points in this post, but suffice it to say, this is a MUST play.  Then, once you’ve beaten it, play it again on Hard….then Survivor…the Hard+ ….and Survivor+…..and the multiplayer is good too…….

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQpdSVF_k_w//%5D

 

2) Enjoy the games you might have missed over the Holidays (or the New Year)

Okay, none of us have enough money to buy all the stuff we want to play. (Disclaimer: There might be people who enough money that they CAN buy all the games they want to play, but I’m assuming that most of us don’t.)  As such, there are probably some things that got missed in the shuffle this year.  Did you miss Sleeping Dogs, Darksiders II, Dishonored, or X-COM.  What about the downloadables that might have slipped off your radar?  Games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Guacamelee, Sound Shapes, Journey, Mark of the Ninja, and The Unfinished Swan all come to mind, and should be played.  There is probably a backlog of games that you like that are now totally cheap.  Take advantage of all your newfound free time and play some of them.  They might make your list of best games you played THIS year….

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBChxYmCxwE%5D

 

3) Clean up that Pile of Shame

We all have one of these too.  Games that are in our collections that have been left unfinished.  Whether it is a JRPG you just got bored with, or a game that you liked that got put to the wayside because something else came out; you should hunker down and complete it….or get rid of it.  You will want to have a clean slate going into your new console and so when fall hits, all bets are off.  The odds of you going back and finishing these things gets slimmer and slimmer the longer that new system sits in your living room, so take advantage of this time and finish some of those guys up.  You also don’t want dead weight in your collection either, so if you know you’re not going back, and there is no emotional attachment to it, be done with it.  Cull the heard….

 

 

4) Watch E3 Videos….then Pine over Them…

A lot of stuff gets announced at E3, and if you have a job…I doubt you’ve seen all the coverage and interviews.  What better way to get excited for what’s coming than by looking at all in lovely HD video.  IGN has tons of hours of content that will last you through the summer and beyond; making the wait for the fall all that much harder. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but they are idiots. Watch as much of that stuff as possible…Greg Miller makes some good jokes.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY-tQ9ffNRc%5D

 

5) Enjoy your other hobbies

I try to do other stuff besides write about and play games.  Now that the summer is here, I have more time to indulge in said activities.  Read some books, go to the beach, rock climb; whatever tickles your fancy.  You have some spare time on your hands, so go enjoy it in a way that you know you will.  I’ve already downed a couple of books that have been on my shelf, and I’ve been indulging my outdoorsy tendencies occasionally too. Find something else that you love and do it…like this guy….

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSwBT6QRUjA%5D

 

or maybe not….that guy is crazy

 

 

6) Troll the Internet

Just Kidding…don’t be that guy.

 

7) Play The Last of Us

Please refer back to Number 1

 

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