WZ Year in Review: The Most Popular Articles of 2012


No matter how you look at it, 2012 was an interesting year for gaming. The Wii U launched to stellar raves and can actually be found on the shelves of your local GameStop/Target/Walmart/etc. right now. The Penny Arcade crew put on two more great shows and have plans to add an Australian edition in 2013. And Mass Effect 3 generated strong emotions in everybody.

So if you’re interested in looking back on the interesting year that was, please check out 14 of our most popular articles of the year. And yes, Mass Effect 3 is mentioned in a few of them.

The Scientifically Proven Top 100 Video Games of All Time

When it comes to deciding which video games qualify as the best of all time, everyone has an opinion. And sometimes those opinions result in a violent argument over the mental faculties (or lack thereof) of the listmaker. So we thought we’d add a little science to the equation to find out exactly which games can be considered the “100 Best Video Games of All Time” and which ones have been fighting above their weight class all these years. (Read More…)

GAME Over: Are British Gaming Stores on Their Last Continue?

Late last week week saw the shocking news that GAME Group, owners of over 1300 GAME and Gamestation stores scattered throughout Europe and Australia, would not be stocking EA’s sci-fi epic Mass Effect 3, set for release on March 9th. While official word from GAME Group’s PR firm Red Consultancy was vague, noting an ambiguous “supply issue,” an internal memo was leaked to Eurogamer. It stated that the problem was apparently more serious, stating that GAME “were committed to only stocking products on which we could get the right credit terms.” Does this mean that GAME Group did not have enough credit with EA to purchase copies of Mass Effect 3? Or has EA made changes to the credit terms that GAME simply finds unacceptable, and are now taking a bold stand? (Read More…)

The Cross and The Controller: Mass Effect’s Picture of Faith

Prayer is a very strange thing. It takes numerous forms, from the recitation of memorized words, often ancient, to the spontaneous utterances of exuberant or anguished hearts. It can be practiced in deep silence, and it can be as informal as a muttered word for help before a surgery or a battle. Prayer flows out of human beings; we seem to be hardwired for it, either by some quirk of natural selection or through deep enculturation. The old saying “there are no atheists in foxholes” suggests the fact that, at our core, humanity is a praying species.

In the Mass Effect series, BioWare has made a very interesting choice when it comes to its alien species. For the most part, though not universally, the sentient species of the universe are praying people as well. The Turians speak of the spirits, the Asari of the Goddess, and the Drell pray to the Hunter and the Mother. (Read More…)

Mass Effect 3′s Extended Cut: A Thank You Letter To BioWare

Dear BioWare,

You received a lot of negative publicity from fans over Mass Effect 3, the last entry in your space-faring trilogy, not least of all from me. Although I have only come to the world of Commander Shepard recently, I embraced it fully. For me, it was the first time I played a game of such scope and detail that matched the feeling I got from my favourite science fiction films and TV shows: Star Wars, Star Trek, and Firefly/Serenity.

However, the initial endings left me feeling like a duped customer, through their lack of difference, and their rushed abruptness. As a screenwriter, I found it in bad taste that you had taken all the threads and emotions of two games (I am a PlayStation 3 owner) and tied them into a brusque finale. While I wished for alternative endings, I certainly did not lead the pack calling for them, although I did voice my opinion when the movement gained traction. I am glad there were fans who felt like me, enough for you to hear them, and give us what we wished for. (Read More…)

5 Video Game Characters Who Deserve a 3-Day Weekend

Time to celebrate! Labor Day is this weekend! An American tradition since 1894, Labor Day rewards hard-working Americans with a well-deserved day off. To celebrate, many go on vacation, spend time with the family, or just relax at home and grill some burgers. While those of us in the real world get to take advantage of this national holiday, one can’t help but think of those poor characters in video games who break their backs day in and day out, and don’t get the luxury of having a Labor Day to benefit from. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of five characters out in video game land who toil endlessly and take no time off for themselves. Relax, guys; you’ve earned it. (Read More…)

The Good, The Bad and The Day One DLC

One of the latest controversies in the game industry is “Day One DLC,” an issue brought to the forefront by what some consider to be the debacle that is Mass Effect 3‘s “From Ashes” DLC. Staff writer Andrew Rainnie and Editor-in-Chief John Scalzo go toe-to-toe on this issue, each explaining why they are against or for Day One DLC. They take many different aspects of the argument into account, including game budgets, used game sales, and the issue of cutting material from the disc in a sleazy attempt to get more new game sales. (Read More…)

The Good, The Bad, and Disney’s Acquisition of LucasArts

On Tuesday, October 30, The Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas. This multibillion dollar deal included all rights to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, as well as the subsidiary companies Industrial Light + Magic, Skywalker Sound, and LucasArts.

In the same announcement, Disney confirmed that Star Wars: Episode VII was in development and would be released in theaters in 2015. The Internet (and quite possibly the world) was in utter disbelief. You might say that millions of voices suddenly cried out in confusion and were suddenly silenced in stunned shock.

But that silence didn’t last long as the speculation concerning Episode VII and what this means for the Star Wars franchise began almost immediately. And that’s where we come in, as two Warp Zoned staffers debate exactly what this merging means for Lucasfilm’s game development arm, LucasArts. (Read More…)

Lollipop Chainsaw’s Pop Culture Yearbook

At first glance, the pairing of game developer Goichi “Suda 51” Suda and filmmaker James Gunn seemed to come out of nowhere. But a shared love of pop culture brought them together and allowed them to create the madcap world of Lollipop Chainsaw‘s resident zombie slayer, Juliet Starling.

Naturally, neither one could resist packing it with as many pop culture references as they could think of… (Read More…)

Video Game or Videogame? Answering the Most Important Question of Our Time

Walk over to your media shelf and pick up a copy of Wii Sports or Halo 3 or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Odds are at least one of these titles will be in your collection. What do you call the item in your hand? Some people consider these titles “interactive entertainment,” but most of us just call them “video games.” Or are they “videogames?” Though they’ve existed for over forty years, no one has ever answered the question “video game or videogame?” (Read More…)

Just Stop! Games Are NOT More Expensive Today

With a generational shift looming for all three console manufacturers, a lot of digital ink has been spilled over the price of games and the belief that… SOMETHING. MUST. BE. DONE. Because didn’t you hear? Games are more expensive now than they’ve ever been. It’s true. I read it on the Internet.

No! Just Stop! YOU. ARE. WRONG.

Not only are the games being produced in 2012 priced similarly to games that were released in decades gone by, many of them are cheaper. That’s right, cheaper. And no, I’m not some stooge being paid by the publishers to peddle this theory, it’s the truth. Why, I remember it just like it was yesterday… (Read More…)

Nintendo Power Memories

Last week we heard some disheartening news: Nintendo Power will close its doors after a whopping twenty-five years on newsstands. Many gamers grew up reading the monthly publication, and have fond memories of the days they would open up their mailbox and find the latest issue of Nintendo Power just waiting to be read. As a child of the 80s, I am among those who were fortunate enough to be part of this era, and, like many of you, am saddened to hear that it is coming to an end. So, as a tribute – or eulogy of sorts – to Nintendo’s long-running publication, I would like to share some memories of my life as a Nintendo Power reader. (Read More…)

Living in a Discless World?

A couple of weeks ago, a rumour spread like wildfire across the Internet, proclaiming that the next iteration of Microsoft’s Xbox console would have no optical disc drive (a similar rumour cropped up about the PS4/Orbis last week as well). Many wrote it off as idle speculation, although a minority seemed not only to believe the rumour as truth but welcome the news. Those who debunked the rumours cited the fact that the last console war between Sony and Microsoft was not actually about the consoles themselves, but the medium their respective consoles used. It seemed Sony had learned its lessons in its past defeats in format wars, from Betamax to Minidisc, with Blu-ray winning the battle against the slightly inferior HD-DVD for dominance in the home movie market. The suggestion now is that Microsoft would now have to kneel down and pucker up to Sony’s Blu-rimmed hole if it wished to brand their next console as a home entertainment system, and their strategy with the Xbox 360 would suggest as much. (Read More…)

The Cross and The Controller: The Darkness II Shines a Light on Religious History

On the face of it, The Darkness II, by Digital Extremes, simply doesn’t seem like the kind of game I should be praising for its use of religion. It stars a character, Jackie Estacado, who is, by all rights, a very bad man. He wields a living weapon known as “The Darkness” that hates God and light in order to maintain his control of his New York-based mafia family. The game features other demonic characters as well as brutal and wildly graphic violence.

But on the up side, it handles religion extremely well. (Read More…)

Just Stop! Consoles Are NOT Headed For a Crash

Over the last few weeks, you’ve probably seen more than a few articles bemoaning the financial health of the retail games sector. Analysts and journalists have been carrying on about how this is the end of the line. That even with a generational jump looming, the gaming community has abandoned disc-based games for their iGadgets and their free-to-play Facebook counterparts.

No! Just Stop! YOU. ARE. WRONG. (Read More…)

Thanks to all our readers for making 2012 a great year!

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