Pull Out The Tissues: 5 Video Games That Will Make You Cry

Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in Gaming, HeadLines | 0 comments

Pull Out The Tissues: 5 Video Games That Will Make You Cry

By Joel Lee Video games offer something that no other narrative medium can: interactivity. Film, television, and literature are the traditional forms of storytelling, but they’re all passive. The journey is predetermined and you’re only a spectator. Video games take that to the next level. You’re not just an observer; you’re the actor. Of course, video games can have linear narratives. They can also have sandbox, open world, nonlinear stories. Either way, the important thing is that you are the character. You experience the story as it happens in real time. And when it comes to emotional gaming, there are some seriously impactful scenes that will take your breath away. Disclaimer: I hate spoilers. In this article, I do my best to avoid revealing the specific plot points and character arcs that define the emotional impact of these games. That being said, just knowing that these are emotional games could itself be a spoiler as it will color the gaming experience. Continue at your own risk. The Walking Dead (PC, PS3, X360, and more) This game has nothing to do with the television series except for its name and setting. Developed by Telltale Games, The Walking Dead is a graphic adventure game that focuses heavily on character arcs, player choices, and human drama. It’s not a puzzle game. It’s not a shooter game. It’s a story game. The crux of the gameplay rests on quick-time actions, a mechanic that’s often lambasted for being clunky, immersion-breaking, and unnecessary. However, The Walking Dead makes perfect use of it by forcing you to make story-altering decisions in the heat of the moment. It creates an atmosphere of urgency and tension that complements the game’s gloomy and gritty reality. And those quick-time actions will break your heart. You’re bound to make bad decisions – embrace it because that’s part of the experience – and those mistakes will result in plot points that twist your gut. There’s a reason why The Walking Dead won over 80 Game of the Year awards. It deserves every single one of them. The Last of Us (PS3, PS4) Like The Walking Dead, The Last of Us is a narrative-centric game that takes place in a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic world with a larger focus on story and characters than gameplay itself. However, The Last of Us does have elements of action-adventure and survival horror, making it a more compelling experience for many gamers. The developers, Naughty Dog, have succeeded in doing what many survival horror games fail to do these days: make us care about the characters. Consequences and stakes only matter if you, the audience, care what happens. When the safety of your favorite characters is threatened, that’s when tension and horror truly shine. That’s what makes The Last of Us such a memorable and emotional experience. The atmosphere, mood, setting, characters, and plots all come together in a cohesive way that grips the heart and makes you feel human. Truly, The Last of Us is one of the PlayStation-exclusive games worth buying a PlayStation to play. Metal Gear Solid 3 (PS2/PS3, X360, 3DS) Having been released back in 2004, Metal Gear Solid 3 might be one of the older games on this list, but don’t let that cheapen your perspective. Yes, the graphics and the gameplay might feel dated – it is over a decade old after all – but the story builds up to one of the strongest and most emotional climaxes in gaming history. Metal Gear Solid 3 stuck to its stealth-action roots with a couple of gameplay twists that some critics liked and others didn’t. In that sense,...

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Space strategy game Spacecom coming to PC and mobile devices this year

Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in Gaming | 0 comments

Space strategy game Spacecom coming to PC and mobile devices this year

By Megan Farokhmanesh on Jun 06, 2014 at 7:30p @Megan_Nicolett                     Stay Connected. Follow Polygon Now! Spacecom, a minimalist game that focuses on real-time strategy, will launch for Linux, Mac, Windows PC and mobile devices in the second half of this year, publisher 11 Bit Launchpad announced today. First created as an “after-hours” project, Spacecom was Greenlit by the community on Steam. The game will offer both single and multiplayer options and charges players with designing plans to outsmart and outmaneuver opponents.   “Spacecom pushes your ability to strategize with a focus on real-time tactics and planning — not fast clicking — using a minimalist design inspired by military technology,” the game’s description reads. “Use proven maneuvers learned from military legends or devise your own cunning plans, and dominate your enemies in planetary systems with up to six players per campaign.” The game is being created by Flow Combine, which includes former developers on The Witcher. Spacecom will be present at E3 2014, where Polygon will be reporting on-site. 11 Bit Launchpad is the publishing arm of 11 Bit Studios, the developer behind the Anomaly franchise and upcoming survival game This War of Mine. http://www.polygon.com/2014/6/6/5786444/spacecom-announcement-pc-mobile Share this:ShareClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

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I’m A Man Who Plays As A Woman In Games, And I’m Definitely Not Alone

Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Gaming, HeadLines | 0 comments

I’m A Man Who Plays As A Woman In Games, And I’m Definitely Not Alone

I’m A Man Who Plays As A Woman In Games, And I’m Definitely Not Alone Nathan Grayson I self-identify as a straight male-bodied dude, but recently I’ve taken to playing as a female-bodied character in many games. It’s not something the majority of people do, but it’s also not uncommon. Oddly, however, men play as women far more than women play as men. Let’s break down why people choose the avatars they do. A new study reported on by Slate found that men are much more likely to gender switch in online games than women. Researchers recruited 375 World of Warcraft players and had them cooperate in small groups for about 1.5 hours. The biggest finding? 23 percent of men opt to play as women, but only 7 percent of women try taking a walk on the (generally) hairier side. Researchers also meticulously recorded participants’ every movement and chat line, and their findings were… interesting—if not entirely unexpected. “When selecting female avatars, these men strongly preferred attractive avatars with traditional hairstyles—long, flowing locks as opposed to a pink mohawk. And their chat patterns shifted partway toward how the real women spoke: These men used more emotional phrases and more exclamation points than the men who did not gender-switch. In other words, these men created female avatars that were stereotypically beautiful and emotional.” So these men role-played to an extent, perhaps somewhat unconsciously, while inhabiting idealized bodies they’d dreamed up. Article author and Ubisoft research scientist Nick Yee noted that this sort of behavior is actually fairly typical of people given avatars drastically or even subtly different from their own bodies. If an avatar is tall, he observed, people tend to be more aggressive in their actions. So basically, people unconsciously paint personalities in broad strokes. They act out what they know, so they fall back on stereotypes without really thinking about it. The men in the World of Warcraft study failed miserably, however, when it came to movement and other less easily monitored/altered habits. “The researchers found that all the men in their study moved around in a very different way than the women. The men moved backward more often, stayed farther away from groups, and jumped about twice as much as the women did. When it came to moving around, the men behaved similarly whether they gender-switched or not.” In short, the tendency to role-play has limits. It’s not necessarily all-encompassing—not when it’s unintentional or unconscious, anyway. When interviewed after the study, many of these men explained their character choice in a rather, er, predictable fashion. Basically, it was about what sort of butt they’d be staring at while (sometimes literally) hoofing it across Azeroth’s patchwork quilt of plains. The researchers explained their results thusly: “[Men playing female-bodied characters] prefer the aesthetics of watching a female avatar form.” They theorized, then, that women are more shy about being guys because most games feature male avatars designed to empower men—not appeal to women. Female avatars in games, meanwhile, often play to stereotypical male ideals of beauty and sexual appeal. It’s incredibly interesting research, and it got me thinking about why I’ve started playing a female avatar more often than not, regardless of whether a game is single-player or multiplayer. Physically speaking I’m attracted to women, but that’s not usually what drives me when I’m rooting through my virtual skin closet to decide what I’m gonna wear to the big bash. I guess, though, the long and short of it is that I’m already me in real life. I like the idea of seeing worlds—far flung or close to home—through...

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10 Reasons Why Adults Who Play Video Games Are Happier

Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Gaming, HeadLines | 0 comments

10 Reasons Why Adults Who Play Video Games Are Happier

Recent studies have shown that adults who play video games have higher levels of happiness, and in some cases relaxation, as a result of their gaming. In addition to the scientific backing behind video games and happiness, here are 10 reasons why it makes sense that adults who play video games are happier than adults who don’t. 1. They’re more connected to their inner child. Few adults really get to do anything playful after work and family life set in, which makes it pretty understandable as to why so many American adults are depressed and bored with life. Unlike adults who don’t play video games, however, gaming adults have a daily chance to engage in playful behavior, similarly to how many of us used to play when we were younger. This stronger connection to your inner child can help you be happier and enjoy life more fully. 2. They have an easy escape from the stress of life. As we get older, we’re continually faced with more pressures in life. We now have student loans to pay back, jobs to succeed in and bills to pay for. I don’t know about you, I often feel like all of this adult stuff is kind of overrated. Playing video games is a great way to de-stress from the demands of everyday life and do something that you enjoy just for the sake of enjoying it. 3. They are exposed to greater creativity and imagination. Anyone who has played any video game can attest to the fact that you’re exposed to greater creativity when gaming. Whether it’s a realistic video game like Call of Duty or a highly imaginative video game like World of Warcraft, using your imagination to put yourself in the mindset of your character and their world is a highly stimulating, creative exercise for your brain. 4. They immediately have something to bond over with other people . Have you ever been at a party and had nothing in common with the people around you? Well, that’s just one more negative thing solved by video gaming. More than 50% of the U.S. adult population plays video games, and 81% of adults between 18 and 29 are gamers. Statistically speaking, at least one of those gamers has to be at the same party as you. When you find him or her, you’ll immediately have something in common. 5. They have a more balanced life perspective. Another reason adults who game are happier is because they have a more balanced perspective on life. Rather than being totally consumed by work and bills, they can devote part of their time to their grown-up duties and part of their time to gaming for fun! 6. They have better hand-eye coordination. It’s been scientifically proven that people who play video games have better spatial coordination and fine motor skills than those who don’t. Not only will this make you more coordinated in your everyday life, but it could also help you be a better driver, keep your eyesight from failing and make you more intelligent. 7. They can include their spouse/friends in their “me” time. If your spouse or best friend is one of those “I need my me time by myself” kinds of people, then you might be familiar with the feeling of boredom or loneliness that can accompany being left behind. If, however, you spouse’s or friend’s “me” time takes place on an Xbox or PS4, then you can participate in their de-stressing time, too! (Or at the very least watch.) This can help strengthen your relationships while still allowing those close...

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Old console, new tricks: Getting the most out of your PS3

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Gaming, HeadLines | 0 comments

Old console, new tricks: Getting the most out of your PS3

BY Mat Smith                         Already paid up for Sony’s PlayStation 4? Or are you waiting on a certain blockbuster title before you make the move to the next gen? We don’t blame you. However, the PS4’s ancestor — that slightly curved obelisk sitting under your TV, the one with half an inch of dust — still has a few tricks in it. While we wait for Sony to perfect its streaming tech, there’s still no way to play PS3 titles on Console No. 4, unless it gets a fancy facelift… and you buy it again. So, we turn back to our faithful PlayStation 3. Born in 2006, eight years is a pretty good term for a games console. But maybe you don’t want your time with it to be over. We don’t either, and have found a few ways to breathe new life into your gradually graying PS3. Get a PlayStation Plus subscription   Really, this should be in past tense: Because you should have gotten in on this surprisingly high-value service a year ago. PlayStation Plus is really that good. For under 10 bucks a month (down to $5 per month if you sign up for a year), you’re offered an “instant game collection” that’s updated every 30 days or so, and that one fee gives you access on every compatible console (PS3, Vita and PS4). As of this writing, the library includes BioShock Infinite, Payday 2, Uncharted 3, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and eight more PS3 titles. Free games rotate in and out each month, but if you “buy” it to download (even if you didn’t download right then), you can play it for as long as your sub lasts — not just when it’s part of the selection. Past titles (depending on region) have included Super Street Fighter IV, Infamous 2, LittleBigPlanet 2, Far Cry 3, Assassin’s Creed III, to name a few. Yeah, more titles than you’d probably ever have time to play, but the service typically delivers something we actually want to play nearly every month. Since launch, a total of 138 PS3 games and a host of PS1 games have been available on the service. Protip: The “instant game collection” on PS Plus differs from region to region. There are more mainstream titles coming to US and European subscribers, but the Japanese one (you’ll need to pick up some yen-based PlayStation Network credit to buy your sub), has a ridiculous archive of original PlayStation (and, er, PC Engine) games. Are most of them in Japanese? Yes. Did we get a handful of free PS3 games (Shadow of the Colossus HD) games in the process? Oh yes. Upgrade the PS3’s hard drive                         Rather than delete your downloads to make space for new ones, why not expand? Go from 20GB to 300GB. For your shopping list, you’ll need a 2.5-inch internal SATA drive. Many tinkerers suggest one that spins at 5,400 RPM to match the PS3’s original drive and to keep the new one from running too hot. It’s not plug-in-and-play simple — you can’t just pull out the smaller HDD, insert a new one into the PS3 Slim and play away. After backing up your current setup with the console’s backup utility, you’ll need to remove a few screws and gingerly switch out the drives. The only tricky part is remembering to put a system update file on a USB stick alongside your backup data. Thankfully, SCE has provisioned...

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10 extremely good games that are completely free

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Gaming | 0 comments

10 extremely good games that are completely free

10 extremely good games that are completely free By Teo Borconi Feel like playing something new, but you’re on a tight budget? Well, there’s certainly a wide array of great games available for free on the PC, and we’ve comprised a list of some of the very best titles out there. While these games all have an in-game shop, none of them are pay-to-win. Apart from microtransactions that offer customization options and which are not necessary to be successful in them, they cost absolutely nothing. All you’ll need to play them is an internet connection and as much free time as you can muster. We’ll cover several different genres, just to make sure there’s something here for everyone’s taste. Dota 2 Dota 2 represents the MOBA genre at its very best! Dota 2 is no longer in a closed beta, it’s now available to the general public, and is currently one of the best MOBAs available on the market. That’s not surprising, considering the original Dota mod for Warcraft 3 was the game that actually started the entire MOBA frenzy, inspiring other successful titles such as Heroes of Newerth or League of Legends. Dota 2 comes with a competitive, well-balanced gameplay, surprisingly good visuals, and of course, no price tag. The game’s microtransactions offer players the possibility to acquire HUD skins or custom announcer voices, but none of them have any influence on gameplay, so you don’t need to spend money to do well in the game. Definitely worth a try! War Thunder A great soundtrack, combined with a fun multiplayer combat system make War Thunder a great choice! I was surprised by how enjoyable War Thunder really is. It’s a flight combat simulator based on World War 2 planes (and the early Cold-War years) that features a huge diversity of realistically designed planes. It has several different types of maps, with different objectives, and can be both extremely user-friendly (with some basic controls), and can also satisfy flight-sim fans through a more complex and realistic game mode. Several types of airplanes are available, from the most maneuverable fighter planes, to the heaviest and most fortified bombers. The gameplay is surprisingly addictive, and it looks great visually. There’s also no advantage for purchasing in-game merchandise, so playing for free is perfectly viable. The game receives constant content updates, and the variety of nations and unique planes will keep you busy for weeks. Loadout Funny, engaging and addictive. Loadout is easy to pick up and hard to put down! Released just a few days ago on Steam, Loadout is a great dose of comedy and brutal shooter action. It’s a bit like Team Fortress 2 meets Borderlands, and have a baby that resembles the grandfather that’s Quake. It’s funny, fast-paced and addictive as hell. Blowing off the limbs of your opponents with outrageous weapons that are completely customizable can be incredibly fun. The in-game shop thankfully doesn’t allow for overpowered weapon mods, being limited to character skins and the like. That way, you can support the devs and differentiate yourself from the crowd, but at no point do you feel a need or obligation to spend a single cent. Loadout’s weapon upgrades are unlocked only by playing, and there are daily experience boosts that help with that, so there’s nothing to ruin your experience or make the game dull. Path of Exile Path of Exile is a great alternative to Diablo or Torchlight! If you’re a fan of clicking and you like action-RPGs, Path of Exile is definitely worth picking up. It’s a worthy contender to Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2,...

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