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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #78: The Secret of Monkey Island

Did you miss The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time’s Introduction? Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100.

Game publishers have been concerned with digital pirates illegally copying their games since the very beginning of the medium. Some have even gone so far as to include booby traps in their code for these would-be thieves. But when it comes to depicting actual pirates, gamemakers (along with major Hollywood players and one of the most celebrated fantasy authors of the last few decades) are content to pillage, plunder, and steal all the best ideas from each other.

It all began in 1967 when Walt Disney himself oversaw the construction of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland. Over the years, the ride would go on to be recreated at Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Park in Paris. Borrowing a bit from Treasure Island, the ride’s exciting ship-to-ship battle, raid on a coastal outpost, group of prisoners trying to bribe a dog for a key, and the frothy ditty “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)” created the quintessential image of a pirate that was shared by kids the world over.

Tim Powers was not one of these kids. Already a teenager by the late 60s, Powers rose to prominence as one of the earliest authors of steampunk (and he, along with K.W. Jeter and James Blaylock, helped coin the phrase). In 1987, he published one of his most famous novels, On Stranger Tides. The novel tells the tale of John Chandagnac, an inexperienced youth who becomes the debonair pirate “Jack Shandy” and rescues the girl after he has a run-in with several undead buccaneers. (more…)

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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #38: Tomb Raider

Did you miss The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time’s Introduction? Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100.

For better or worse, Lara Croft is the most famous woman in all of gaming. But all her fame might be a fluke, because the developers behind her creation claim it was all an accident.

Formed in the late 80s, Core Design was an unlikely candidate to be creating a wide open 3D title like Tomb Raider. The developer’s biggest claim to fame at the time was Rick Dangerous, a game that could charitably be called an “homage” to Indiana Jones. Other gamers might remember Chuck Rock, a platformer created by Core that starred a dimwitted caveman. But like many British developers of the time, they didn’t think about their limitations and just went for it. This definitely applied to Toby Gard, the artist behind Lara Croft’s original look.

Like Rick Dangerous, Lara began life as a man with no name that bore a striking resemblance to Harrison Ford. Fearing a lawsuit, Gard redrew the character as a woman and began tinkering with a number of different personalities. The artist told IGN in 2008 that the proto-Tomb Raider began life as a “sociopathic blonde” before morphing into a muscle woman, a “flat topped hip hopster,” and a “Nazi-like militant in a baseball cap.” None of these looks fit the game that Core envisioned, but Gard’s final pass at it proved to be the winner. Laura Cruz, “a tough South American woman in a long braid and hot pants,” was born. (more…)

Posted in Features, Mobile, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Retro, SPBVGOAT, Top Story, Wii, Xbox 360 | Tagged

For Honor rises to the occasion as the best-selling game of February 2017

Ubisoft’s For Honor conquered all comers during its first month of availability, as The NPD Group declared it the best-selling game during February 2017. The multiplayer brawler faced some tough competition, but it emerged victorious on the retail battlefield, besting both Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (#2) and Grand Theft Auto V (#3).

The only other new release to crack last month’s top ten was Nioh, an action RPG developed by Team Ninja and published by Koei Tecmo.

But the overall retail health of the industry was on a downward swing in February. According to GamesIndustry.biz, hardware and software sales were down: “Total hardware sales amounted to $204 million, down 30% from last year. Console and portable software dropped 14% to $344.2 million, PC software fell 26% to just $25 million, while accessories fell 21% to $150.8 million. All told, industry sales took a 21% hit, declining from $918.7 million to $724 million.”

However, it seems likely that the successful launch of the Nintendo Switch (and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) will change that trajectory in March.

The complete list of best-selling games from February 2017 can be found after the break. (more…)

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Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment Review: Death Takes Over in a Perfect Prequel

Yacht Club Games has built a strong reputation over the years for their ability to deconstruct, modernize, and regenerate the side-scrolling platformer. Using Ducktales and Mega Man as a template, the original Shovel Knight was a game that honored the past, while only being able to exist in the present. Meanwhile, its first expansion, Plague of Shadows, brought back the gadget platformer in a unique adventure that felt more like a true sequel than an add-on.

The developer must have had the same thought, as Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment is the first game in the franchise’s rapidly-growing expanded universe to be available as a standalone game as well as a free expansion. Widening their playing field has also lead Yacht Club to tackle the cinematic storytelling and swordplay found in the NES era’s ninja platformers, best exemplified by Ninja Gaiden. (more…)

Posted in 3DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Reviews, Switch, Top Story, Vita, Wii U, Xbox One | Tagged ,


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Danganronpa 1-2 Reload, Styx: Shards of Darkness, Momodora, more added to PS Store

With the northeast buried under a literal mountain of snow, now’s a great time to explore this week’s additions to the PlayStation Store…

After slowly gaining momentum with PS Vita and PC players over the past few years, NIS America will bring the first two murder mysteries in the Danganronpa franchise (Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair) to the PS4 this week as Danganronpa 1-2 Reload. Also available to download this week for the PS4 is Styx: Shards of Darkness, a stealth adventure from Cyanide Studio and Focus Home Interactive.

And later this week, PS4 owners will be able to download Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, a “MetroidVania” with “highly satisfying combat and gorgeous pixel art.”

So keep shoveling and dig into more details about all these games (and the rest of this week’s new releases) after the break. (more…)

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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #56: Ms. Pac-Man

Did you miss The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time’s Introduction? Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100.

It’s easy to forget nowadays, but Ms. Pac-Man was actually created by accident. Like Doc Brown’s invention of time travel after a tumble from the toilet, Ms. Pac-Man was created when a group of game developers from MIT attempted to release an unauthorized sequel to Pac-Man known as “Crazy Otto.”

Before turning their sights on the biggest arcade game of the day, the development team, General Computer, first used their programming skills to create an “enhancement kit” for Atari’s Missile Command. Instead of creating their own game from scratch, the enhancement kit hooked into Atari’s code and altered it to provide a new gameplay experience. Essentially, General Computer created the first expansion pack.

Even though the enhancement kit required an original Missile Command cabinet, Atari later attempted to sue General Computer for copyright infringement. But rather than become mired in a protracted court case, the arcade giant and the enterprising college students reached a settlement. Atari would hire General Computer to design original arcade games so long as they agreed not to create any additional enhancement kits without the permission of the original game publisher. The developers quickly signed on, but first they took a nearly complete version of “Crazy Otto” to Midway, the North American distributor of Pac-Man. (more…)

Posted in Features, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Retro, SPBVGOAT, Top Story, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One | Tagged

Uncharted 4 leads all games at the 2017 BAFTA Games Awards with 8 nominations

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The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced the nominees for the 2017 Games Awards, which will be handed out in a special ceremony in London on April 6. Viewers at home will be able to watch a livestream of ceremony through BAFTA’s Twitch channel.

This year’s top nominee is Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which scored eight nominations including “Game of the Year.” Nathan Drake’s final adventure will also compete in the “Artistic Achievement,” “Audio Achievement,” “Music,” and “Narrative” categories, as well as with three separate nominations in the “Performer” category (Troy Baker, Nolan North, and Emily Rose).

Uncharted 4 will fight for BAFTA’s “Game of the Year” honor against five other critically-acclaimed games from 2016 including Campo Santo’s Firewatch, Playdead’s Inside, Blizzard’s Overwatch, Concerned Ape’s Stardew Valley, and Respawn’s Titanfall 2.

The complete list of nominees in all categories can be found after the break. (more…)

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Atlus released a new “Sizzle Trailer” today for Persona 5

Persona 5, the first numbered entry in the series since the PlayStation 2 era, is less than a month away from its arrival on the shelves of your local game retailer. To celebrate the impending launch, Atlus released a brand new trailer for the game today.

The “Sizzle Trailer,” as Atlus is calling it, provides prospective players with a bit more insight than previous trailers have, as fans will get the chance to see additional combat, classroom scenes, cutscenes, and skill building. Those who watch the trailer will even learn a little more about Persona 5’s storyline.

From what we’re able to gather, the game’s Protagonist will be a high school transfer student with a troubled reputation. Distancing itself from the countryside setting of Persona 4, Persona 5 takes place in the vibrant and bustling city of Tokyo, where the troubled youths form a group called the Phantom Thieves in an effort to change the world. However, stepping away from previous narratives, we can conclude that the incidents unfolding throughout the game will have a greater impact on things outside of Japan. What that will be, and how it will impact the storyline, remains to be seen.

But like previous entries in the Persona franchise, we know for certain that Persona 5 centers around a group of Japanese students who unlock the powers of their Persona by removing their social masks and embracing their true “self.”

Atlus has announced that they have more promotional material slated for release ahead of Persona 5’s launch for the PS4 and PS3 on April 4th. But for now, you can enjoy the above trailer and focus on finishing up Persona 4… if you haven’t already.

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