Monthly Archives: October 2013

The ESRB Brings You This Unbearably Cute Reminder About Game Ratings

Man, I don’t have kids (that I know of) and I’m dawwwwwing all over this PSA that the ESRB just put out. It’s a reminder that it can be hard to say no when your kid’s so excited for Ninja Attack!, or whatever they’re clutching, and you want him or her to be happy. But it’s important to read the ratings and use parental controls.

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This spot’s so cool, Vice President Biden retweeted it out like, 12 hours before anybody knew it existed.

The ESRB Brings You This Unbearably Cute Reminder About Game Ratings

Good on the veep; I’m sure the ESA and publishers are happy to have his stamp of approval, too. And yeah, check the ESRB Rating on every game. It helps parents and it helps kids. And, frankly, it helps those who make the games we enjoy, whether they’re rated E, T or M.

To contact the author of this post, write to owen@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @owengood.

Co-Op: Best Graphics Card For The Money, Nominations

Let’s just say that your hour has come again… to vote on the best gear with your fellow Kotakuites. Today’s topic: graphics cards, but not just any graphics card, and not the most powerful graphics card. We’re looking for the best GPU bang for your buck. With Battlefield 4 in hand and next-gen consoles around the corner, it’s a great time to bring your rig up to snuff, so jump in the comments section and give us your nomination.

  • Post #1: You guys nominate your favorites in the comments section.
  • Post #2: After counting the votes from Post #1, we take the top five choices and vote on them.
  • Post #3: We announce the winner.

And some rules to make sure your votes/nominations get counted, and for my sanity:

  • Start a new comment thread with a new nomination, please bold “nomination” and please check to see that no one has already nominated your choice.
  • Vote by commenting on the nomination. You must include “vote” in your vote comment, preferably in bold.
  • Votes without the word “vote” will not be counted. Image annotations, text annotations, and recommendations (starring) of someone else’s comment do not count as votes.

For After You’re Done Nominating


Get in touch with Shane Roberts on Twitter or by e-mailing Shane@Gawker

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The Escapists breathes new life into the prison break genre

Bored?  Wanna start a riot?

If you’ve been rearing to spring an escape from prison, Kickstarter may just have the game for you.

ChrisD and Mouldy Toof Studios, the creators of Spud’s Quest, a Metroidvania adventure game that was successfully funded last year, has begun work on his new game, The Escapists.  Drawing inspiration from The Shawshank Redemption, The Great Escape, and Escape from Alcatraz, this new game comes with a variety of features to help you bust out of your virtual jail cell.  Some early ideas are:

  • Schedules: To escape you’ll have to work around the strict prison schedule as best you can to avoid any unwanted attention from the guards.
  • Crafting: Weapons and tools can be crafted together using everyday things you find or steal around the prison. Just beware of cell shakedowns.
  • Reputation: The way you interact with fellow cons and guards affect how they treat you. Those on your side could help you out in a fight, overlook if they catch you doing anything unusual, or give you access to certain favors/jobs, and assistance.
  • Digging: Get hold of a shovel and you can start working on an escape tunnel. Of course you’ll need some lights and timber supports below ground if you plan to survive. Just make sure you make it back for the guard patrols- and that the hole is hidden!
  • Skills: Train your agility and strength in the gym, or spend your free periods in the library boosting your intellect. All such skills play a part in your escape as well as your survival inside the prison.
  • Combat: When it comes to crunch time, you might have to engage other inmates or guards in combat. If one of them finds your escape tunnel you will probably have to overpower, bind, and stash them in the hole you’ve been digging below your cell. If it’s a guard, taking his uniform might come in handy.
  • Gangs & Friends: Be careful who you pick fights with- some of the inmates might start plotting against you with their gang-mates and friends.

The game is set to finish its initial Kickstarter run in 34 days, so if you feel like contributing, rush over to the site quickly.

The Wolf Among Us Episode 1

the wolf among usI’m a sucker for most anything TellTale and was quick to pick up the first season of The Wolf Among Us. For some reason the TellTale store couldn’t quite get it together and release with everybody else. Although a bit delayed, The Wolf Among Us was definitely worth the wait.

I’ve never actually read any of the comic books that the game is based on but I do remember hearing about ‘Fable’s when shows like Grimm and Once Upon A Time were coming out, which were the result of failed efforts to adapt the comic into a TV series or something like that. If I was the guy(s) behind the comic I would be a little irked by that. Anyway, having played the first episode and having watched both shows it sure seems like Fables is basically a mix of both TV shows except a good deal darker and edgier. Or whatever word that implies tons more F-bombs and violence.

the wolf among us bigbyYou play as Bigby Wolf (Big B Wolf, BIG BAD WOLF, hard har, etc) who is the sheriff of Fabletown — a place somewhere in New York City where all of the exiled fairytale characters live. You got characters like Snow White, Mr. Toad, Ichabod Crane, Beauty, Beast, and so on. I won’t give anything away but the basic premise of the game is that you have to solve a murder that occurs and find out what’s really going on which I imagine will eventually wrap up with the final episode. The characters are really interesting and the whole setting and backstory are incredibly fascinating to the point where I’m tempted to go out and buy some of the comics. Supposedly the game IS canon but takes place before the events of the comics so you won’t really spoil one with the other and so on.

the wolf among us magic mirrorThe game plays almost exactly like The Walking Dead. TellTale has begun to move away from the classic adventure design and more towards an interactive story experience. Your inventory sits off to the side but you don’t seem to be able to manipulate it in any way. You can still find items along the way that might be of use to you later, like a matchbook or piece of evidence, but so far nothing is really needed to progress the story. Either way you’re getting to the end but what you collect and your choices determine what happens and how you treat people can come back to help or haunt you, especially later down the road in future episodes I imagine. I suppose this allows for a lot more replayability since you can make several different choice combinations along the way but it seems to come at the expense of any kind of puzzle element of which there are none to be seen so far. All of the games action sequences are handled in a quick-time-event fashion that requires the pressing of certain directions or click certain areas within a time limit. Some people loathe QTEs and I’m not necessarily a fan myself, but they don’t bother me enough to turn me off.

I’ve played through episode 1 a few times now and I’m already comfortable saying that it’s better than The Walking Dead, which never really hooked me quite this much. It may not be the kind of adventure game that I wish it were (I pretty much wanted Discworld Noir 2)  but it’s still a fantastic experience.

Here’s what’s going on Talk Among Yourselves, our reader-written blog: Rathorial offers high praise

Here’s what’s going on Talk Among Yourselves, our reader-written blog: Rathorial offers high praise to Red Faction Underground as a Last-Gen Hero, noting how it let the player controller the pace of the story. This outgoing generation’s greatest RPG? It’s Mass Effect 2, according to Cimeas. And 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors gets some Last-Gen Heroes love from Retrohunter.

Don’t forget that you can always go join the voices talking about video games and life in TAY Classic and in the TAY: Open Forum.

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate “Cell Blocks Gameplay” walkthrough

Yesterday, we hopefully got you super hyped for the new Batman: Arkham Origins coming out tomorrow for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, but we can’t forget the other Batman: Arkham game coming out tomorrow for Vita and 3DS, which is Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. Warner Bros. Interactive has posted yet another video leading up to the big day featuring a walkthrough of the Blackgate gameplay.

The “Cell Blocks Gameplay” video is narrated by Armature Studio game director Mark Pacini, who highlights a level in Blackgate Prison. Pacini explains level design, controls, combat and Batman’s investigative and detective features you’ve come to know and love. You can check out the video below and again, be warned there will probably be some minor spoilers.

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Here’s to hoping they release a version of this for PSN and Xbox LIVE, because this looks just as good gameplay-wise as Origins with a nice 2 and a half D twist.

Pokemon X & Y Impressions

Keen and I are longtime Pokemanics and have been glued to our 3DS’ since yesterday morning. We make the vow to catch them all every time a new game comes out and mean it each time, even if we end up running out of steam along the way. We’re not terribly far yet but we’d love to talk about some of the more interesting aspects of the games, which seem to have taken the most significant steps in expanding upon the main Pokemon game series.

Froakie and Chespin

A few of our favorite things:

Pokemon XY 3D Render+ The 3D rendered visuals are fantastic and allow for some interesting new camera perspectives that we haven’t seen before in the main series. One in particular that comes to mind is when you enter Lumiose. The camera switches to  an over-the-shoulder perspective and presents the whole city in an exciting new way. Also, seeing your Pokemon battling in 3D for the first time in the main series is really exciting.+ Rollerskating is a neat way to switch things up from the usual bike transportation.

+ Fairy type Pokemon! I don’t have a lot of experience with them yet but new types are always fun. I don’t think we have had a new type since steel and dark, if I can remember correctly.

+ Mega-Evolutions?! Or at least the idea of them. In theory it sounds pretty awesome but neither of us are far enough yet to know.

+ New features! There’s a new strength-training type minigame system that so far is a bit confusing, the Pokemon-Amie feature that lets you interact with your Pokemon similar to Nintendogs, and probably a lot more stuff we haven’t even seen yet.

+ Character customization! You can choose between 3 different pre-set characters, either male or female, but later on you can change your outfit, buy new clothes and accessories, and even get a new haircut and color.

+ Bonus Kanto region starter! Shortly into the game you are given the choice of additional Pokemon: Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle. Why…? Just because, I guess.

You take the good with the bad:

- Character movement is pretty wonky and trying to get into specific areas or talk to people can prove more difficult than you’d imagine. As soon as you get your rollerskates you can activate them with the circlepad and zoom around with 360 degrees of movement but you cant run through grass. Pressing on the D-pad will make you walk around with the whole up, down, left, up-right, etc 8-directional movement system and you can run (through grass as well) by holding ‘B.’- There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of new Pokemon. Most of what we have encountered so far are familiar faces like Caterpie, Bidoof, Pikachu, etc. What is new, however, is pretty cool and interesting. I suppose it comes down to the whole quality versus quantity debate. Still, I would like to see more new Pokemon.

- The 3D depth effect isn’t so hot. The game is mostly presented with the two-dimensional effect but in certain instances and in battles it activates the depth effect. It’s not that it looks necessarily bad but it does make the jaggies stand out more and there is VERY noticeable slowdown during battles unless you turn it off. It’s probably best to just completely turn off the 3D depth effect, which seems to be a trend in 3DS games lately, as it makes the entire experience better.

The Verdict

Pokemon X and Y are worth buying.  Many of you have already asked us whether or not this game alone justifies buying a 3DS.  Our answer is yes.  However, if the full 3DS price seems a bit high, why not give the 2DS a look? It costs less ($70 cheaper) than the 3DS (especially the 3DS XL which is the better 3DS to buy) and gives you the best of the new Pokemon game.  If you’re thinking about playing any other 3DS games, and there are some great ones out already and coming out soon, then go for a full 3DS XL.

Follow our entire Pokemon adventure as we once again try and Catch ‘Em All!

Kotaku ‘Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The Winners

Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

He’s not the dad we need right now. Hell, he’s not the dad we want, either. But Batdad, the aphorism-spouting alter ego of one Atlanta-area father, is the ‘Shop Contest subject we get this week, in 20 different sight gags including the overall No. 1 from Docherty!

Just for the record, Contrarianator was helluva close to overall No. 1. I hate to say it folks, but size does matter, and we try to run our winners at 970 x 546. Acnyc2000 also was a close contender.But Docherty, a frequent flier in the roundup, won out with that magnificent selfie-cam view, triumphing over repeat offender billysan, who placed two entries in the finals. Hats off to Wiisley64 for the timely callback, too.

And, by the way, if you want a head start on tomorrow’s contest, EllieRyan has the right idea. ‘Nuff said!

On with the finalists!


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

Acnyc2000


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

Arniejolt


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

billysan


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

billysan


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

Contrarianator


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

Docherty


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

EllieRyan


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

Greg the Mad


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

Ihsus


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

Jbrr


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

Kcity


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

PeterPanzerfaust


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

Pixel


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

SoCalBro


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

Sticksabbi


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

stillsaw


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

The Palmtop Tiger


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

trippytreefrogb


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

uscg_pa


Kotaku 'Shop Contest: BatDad: Arkham Origins: The WinnersS

Wiisley64


To contact the author of this post, write to owen@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @owengood.