WZ Year in Review: The Most Popular Articles of 2013


With 2013 officially in the books, I think it’s safe to say that it was a year that will go down in infamy among gamers. The Xbox One launched and gamers were still debating whether Microsoft’s scrapped game licensing policy was a good idea. The PS4 also launched and while it didn’t have a so-called “killer app,” it received a much warmer response. The Wii U continued to chug along the track, but most third party publishers (except for Ubisoft and the indies) seemed to get off.

So jump into our DeLorean and take a trip back through 2013 as we look at the 21 most popular articles from the last year.

The “AAA” Game:
Where It’s Been, Where It’s Going, and Did It Kill the “Mid-Tier” Game?


With a new generation of consoles almost upon us, there is the worry that the spiraling budgets and massive teams required to create “AAA” games is hurting the industry. But for all the hand-wringing about how the “AAA” game is detrimental to mid-size developers, no one can seem to agree on what exactly a “AAA” game is or when the “AAA” designation was even first used. In attempting to solve this etymological mystery, I found that the “AAA” designation shares much in common with Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s obscenity test from a 1964 case: “I know it when I see it.” But I also found out that “Will the AAA game survive?” is probably the wrong question to ask. (Read More…)

League of Legends:
What to Expect From Season 4


League of Legends is the most popular video game in the world. According to a newly released infographic created by Twurdy, a League of Legends community, 32.5 million players log into Riot Games’ smash hit on a daily basis. That means that if every single World of Warcraft subscriber played Blizzard’s MMO in a single day when WoW was at its peak, League of Legends would still boast nearly three times the amount of players. In addition to its massive player base, League of Legends was recently the centerpiece of one of the largest eSports events in history: The Season 3 World Championships.

The Championship match was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the same building that hosts marquee events such as Lakers games and professional wrestling shows. If there was any question as to whether or not League of Legends could compete with such events in tickets sales, they were silenced almost immediately as the Season 3 World Championships sold out in 59 minutes. But Season 3 is coming to an end very soon, and Riot Games has been looking ahead to the next season, which starts tomorrow, November 12th. Over the past week, Riot Games employees (Rioters) have been posting numerous articles to Reddit about their plans for the new season to give players a glimpse of what’s in store. After playing League of Legends for two years with two accounts that are in Gold League, I’ve attempted to compile all the proposed changes for Season 4 along with my impressions on what these changes could potentially mean for the future of the game. (Read More…)

League of Legends:
The First 21 Days of Season 4’s Preseason


It’s been three weeks since Riot Games released Patch 3.14 for League of Legends. The patch brought with it all of the changes players have been waiting for since the end of Season 3’s Grand Finals. Included were changes to vision, the jungle, supports, and of course, all of the champion and item balance tweaks that come with any patch. For a quick review of what Riot’s changes were, check out my previous article “What to Expect From Season 4.” As we’d all hoped, Season 4 seems to have made significant changes to the League of Legends world, while still keeping the game true to its core. The meta has seen a bit of a shift, and will likely continue to change as the new season grows into its own. Most notable at the moment, however, is the influx of supports and support players, as well as the champions who have become extremely powerful because of various changes, such as Evelynn and Shyvana. (Read More…)

What Did I Just See?: 5 Surprising Moments From Classic Video Games


In 2013, video games have a graphical fidelity that was unthinkable during my childhood. But games were still able to shock us. Often, their seemingly simple worlds allowed these surprises to sneak up on us, changing the way we thought about everything that came before and, sometimes, even the entire world around us.

So take a trip back with me as I explore 5 Surprising Moments From Classic Video Games… (Read More…)

5 Indie Games for PS4 to Spend Your Watch Dogs Money On


Gamers, please accept my apology. I didn’t mean to; it was a complete mistake. I take all the blame, and I hope that one day you will be able to find it in your heart to forgive me.

I pre-ordered Watch Dogs a few days ago.

I know, I know. If only I hadn’t pre-ordered the game, I wouldn’t have jinxed the whole thing, and the game never would have been delayed. Believe me; I’m just as devastated as you. Now my PS4 lineup will be without the title that I was looking forward to most. But hey – I don’t like to dwell on the past. I’m a half-full kind of guy. So I wiped my tears and got to searching for the next great next-gen game. And you know what I found? It looks like some of the best games won’t be coming from hundred-developer teams and multi-million dollar budgets. My friends, this generation is all about the indies.

While doing my research on what PS4 launch game to get to while I wait for Watch Dogs, I was a bit let down. Sure, there are some good choices, like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Killzone: Shadow Fall, but those didn’t really jump out at me. I’m already getting Knack, and I don’t have too deep an interest in sports or racing games. It was only when I started perusing the downloadable titles that I really started to get excited. And you should too. So here’s just a few upcoming PS4 independent games to use that Watch Dogs money on. (Read More…)

10 Actresses That Could Help Reboot the Tomb Raider Film Franchise


In March 2011, we reported that GK Films had acquired the film rights to the Tomb Raider franchise, and that a reboot of the film series was on its way. Now that the reboot of the game has launched, the good people at Crystal Dynamics, who have been developing the Tomb Raider games since 2006, are working closely with uber-producer Graham King’s outfit GK Films on a third cinematic outing for Lara Croft. The film will follow the game’s lead and reboot the series, possibly even using the plot of the new game. This is unlike the two previous films, which used plots that were entirely independent from any game in the franchise. It is perhaps for this reason that they are best described as “watchable.”

The Tomb Raider film reboot joins a slew of celluloid adaptations currently in development, including Assassin’s Creed, Deus Ex, Need For Speed, Hitman (again), Shadow of the Colossus, as well as Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon. But the big question on everyone’s lips is, “Who will play the new Lara Croft?” With the arrival of the game last week, we thought it might be a good time to have a look at ten potential actresses who could take the Tomb Raider baton from Angelina Jolie. (Read More…)

5 TV Shows That Should Be Games


Gamemakers take inspiration from a variety of sources: films, books, graphic novels, and historical events have all been turned into great games. But television shows very rarely make the cut. With the recent success of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead video game (and another one from Activision somewhat needlessly on the way), we found ourselves wondering which other current TV shows could make the transition from our airwaves to our gamepads. (Read More…)

The Galloping Ghost Arcade:
A Trip Back in Time


Summer, 1985. To this day, one particular trip to Pizza Hut remains in my memory. And it wasn’t because of the pizza. No, the only two things I distinctly remember are Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” playing on the jukebox, and my dad giving me a quarter and pointing me to a table with a glass top. I couldn’t see well enough from that far away, but it sure looked like something was glowing from under the top of this table. The soothing aura drew me ever closer, and when I reached it, I saw those two words that would forever capture my love for video games.

Insert Coin. (Read More…)

Shadow PAX: The Hidden Games of PAX East 2013 You Probably Didn’t See


It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you first enter the PAX East show floor. With over 200 exhibitors showing off over 500 products (at a minimum), there’s no way to see it all. In fact, it’s possible to seclude yourself in your own little piece of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and not realize that entire other worlds exist within the greater PAX East experience.

The “Three PAX Theory” is the belief that PAX East is actually three different conventions all smashed together. On the north side of the show floor, you have “Triple-A PAX.” That’s where your Nintendos and your Microsofts and your Ubisofts create massive booths, and a game like The Last of Us has a four-hour line. On the south side is “Indie PAX,” which houses the Indie Mega Booth and a huge number of small developers who operate booths that are barely big enough for a TV and a few buttons. Finally, on the extreme south side of the BCEC is “Tabletop PAX,” where it’s all dice and cards and there’s nary a video game in sight. I wish I had come up with it, but all credit for the “Three PAX Theory” must go to @jakeninja.

However, there’s also a fourth side to PAX East that a lot of people don’t see. It takes place in the dark corners of the convention center and in gamer-gathering places all across the city after the Expo Hall closes for the night. I like to call this “Shadow PAX.” (Read More…)

The PAXpocalypse List:
The Best of PAX East 2013


We don’t have the PAX pox, but what if the entire convention center was put under quarantine because of some mystery illness? What would you do? What would you see? We’d endure the PAXpocalypse by spending all of our time with the 13 games (nine playable, three developer-guided demos, and one board game) below. Though it would have to be after pushing the hordes of undead off our doorstep. Because any pox affecting PAXgoers would almost certainly have to lead to a zombie uprising. (Read More…)

The PAXpocalypse List:
The Best of PAX Prime 2013


This year’s PAX Prime was one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had. And even with four days, I still didn’t get a chance to play everything – or even see everything. Lines were long, crowds were huge, and once I got started in on a good game, I wanted to play it as much as I could. We were originally only going to award ten games, but by Monday, we couldn’t narrow it down, so we ended up adding in two more. Here is the PAXpocalypse List for PAX Prime 2013 – the twelve games we’d love to be stranded with if this little convention in Seattle was the end of the world. And they’re in alphabetical order… because that’s how it’s done when you can’t pick favorites. (Read More…)

You can find more of the biggest and best articles from 2013 on the next page.

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