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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #91: Madden NFL Football (Series)

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.

A gambler will tell you that they believe Lady Luck will reward them for respecting a streak, and a professional football player will tell you that he doesn’t believe in the Madden Curse. The former is a wishful thinker, and the latter is a liar.

The sports world is filled with superstitions. As a Little Leaguer growing up, I could show you what a “rally cap” was and explain the importance of never touching the baselines. I understood completely why retired Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland refused to change his underwear during a 12-game winning streak in 2011. I’ve even got strong opinions on what you say to a pitcher in the middle of a perfect game. The answer is you don’t say anything, because talking to him at all is bad luck.

For decades, the Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx served as a well-known precursor to the Madden Curse. Those who believe in the Jinx are convinced that any player who appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated will experience some form of terrible luck, even though a handful of high-profile hits have obscured the long list of players who avoided the Jinx over the years. If the sheer number of cover subjects doesn’t dissuade you (more than 3,000 issues have been produced since the magazine’s launch in 1954), the illustrious career of Michael Jordan should. The basketball great has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated a record 50 times, and he’s had the kind of career that other athletes dream about… not counting his detour through Minor League Baseball and Space Jam.

But what of the Madden Curse? Although you’ll find a few executives at Electronic Arts who enjoy hyping up the current year’s game with talk of the Curse, most of them like to downplay it. In 2008, the then-President of EA Sports, Peter Moore, said, “I guess when you look back there’s a grain of truth to the Madden Curse.” At the time, he wasn’t wrong. Five of the last six offensive players on the cover succumbed to some horrible calamity. The publishing giant even considered producing a movie based on the Madden Curse in 2010, though that project seems to have fallen off the radar in the years since.

And that’s probably because the Madden Curse is as mythical as a wild turducken. (more…)

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Nominations now being accepted for the World Video Game Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017

After inducting Grand Theft Auto III, The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Space Invaders into video gaming’s inner circle last year, the World Video Game Hall of Fame is ready to begin accepting nominations for its Class of 2017.

Any game is eligible to be enshrined in the World Video Game Hall of Fame, and gamers of all stripes are encouraged to visit the Nominate A Game page to submit any title for nomination that fits the Selection Criteria:

  • Icon Status: The game is widely recognized and remembered.
  • Longevity: The game is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over time.
  • Geographical Reach: The game meets the above criteria across international boundaries.
  • Influence: The game has exerted significant influence on the design and development of other games, on other forms of entertainment, or on popular culture and society in general. A game may be inducted on the basis of this criterion without necessarily having met all of the first three.

All submissions for nominations must be made by March 6, and this year’s finalists will be announced on March 29.

The World Video Game Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 will be selected by an internal committee on the advice of an international team of “journalists, scholars, and other individuals familiar with the history of video games and their role in society.” This year’s inductees will be announced as part of a special ceremony that’ll be held at The Strong Museum in Rochester, NY on May 4.

Posted in 3DS, DS, Mobile, News, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Retro, Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One |

SAG-AFTRA voice actor union holds another rally in Los Angeles as strike continues

With the continuing strike between the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and a cabal of 11 video game companies locked in a stalemate, the union held a rally in Los Angeles to help support the striking voice actors.

The strike, which has been active since October 21, is an ongoing dispute about working conditions and salary for motion capture and voice artists when working on video games. However, there has been little movement in negotiations on the matter, according to SAG-AFTRA’s Chief Contracts Officer, Ray Rodriguez, who said the purpose of the rally was “to get people refocused that the strike is happening.”

In addition to demanding better safety conditions for its members, SAG-AFTRA is seeking additional bonus payments for actors that work on a game that sells well. The union has suggested an extra payment for games selling two million copies, with additional bonuses up to eight million copies sold.

However, lawyers for the 11 companies, which include Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Take Two Interactive, Insomniac Games, Warner Bros., and Disney, do not see room for compromise. Scott Witlin, their Chief Negotiator, released a statement saying, “We remain disappointed that SAG-AFTRA leadership remains focused on outmoded ideas about how compensation is structured rather than the real dollars and cents that the video game companies put on the table.”

The contingent of companies, who have seen their premises picketed over the last few months, have proposed an immediate 9% wage increase, instead of a 3% annual increase for the next three years, which is what SAG-AFTRA is asking for on top of the bonus. The video game companies are also offering additional payments, which could be as high as $950 per game, dependent on the length of time an actor works on a specific title.

SAG-AFTRA Interactive Negotiating Committee Chair Keythe Farley said, “I can’t believe we’re still fighting for this contract two years later. I thought we’d be done by lunch on day one. I figured we were all eager to update the substandard, 20-year-old contract that we’ve been operating under and start fresh with a modern, industry-standard agreement that protects, and fairly compensates, performers working on today’s video games. The one thing that keeps me going is our members’ dedication and commitment to a fair contract. It’s the same dedication they bring to their performances, so I guess it’s no surprise, really.”

The SAG-AFTRA rally, which began at SAG-AFTRA Plaza and stretched to the nearby La Brea Tar Pits, attracted 500 union members and was joined by the aptly named David Ryu, an LA City Councilman. He offered strong words of support for the crowd, saying video game companies “need to pay their fair share” and telling the SAG-AFTRA protesters “you should not give in.”

Posted in 3DS, Mobile, News, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One |

Women of Color In Video Games: A Much Needed Dialogue

Have you ever heard of the “magical negro” trope? Perhaps you haven’t. How about the one regarding black women being “hypersexual?” No, haven’t heard of that trope either? Well, here’s the thing… you’ve definitely seen it, read it, digested it, but you might not have consciously absorbed it. Don’t feel too bad; most people don’t recognize it, either.

The fact that most people don’t see how offensive the portrayal of black and brown women in video games is, is exactly why commentary on this valid argument is so direly needed. (more…)

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Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers, Double Dragon IV, Knee Deep, more added to PS Store

This week’s PlayStation Store update appears to be brought to you by the letter D…

Koei Tecmo starts things off with the launch of Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers, a new tactical RPG in the long-running series. Available to download now for the PS4 and Vita, Godseekers depicts the “chaotic end days of the Han dynasty,” which is “a period in Chinese history when ancient China was overwhelmed by uprisings and internal strife within its imperial court.”

From ancient China to post-apocalyptic Japan comes Double Dragon IV, the first new entry in the franchise created by the original development team in more than a decade. Billy and Jimmy, the Lee Brothers, make their PS4 debut in a retro-styled side-scroller that serves as a direct sequel to Double Dragon II: The Revenge. The slightly-less-apocalyptic landscape of Florida serves as the setting for Knee Deep, a PS4 adventure game that uses a theatrical style to engage the audience with its murder mystery.

Finally this week, a pair of anime adaptations will be released for the PS4 including Digimon World: Next Order and Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 – Road to Boruto.

More information on all of these games can be found after the break. (more…)

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Dishonored 2, Doom, Overwatch, Titanfall 2, Uncharted 4 will compete for “Game of the Year” at 2017 SXSW Gaming Awards

The organizers of the SXSW Gaming Conference and Festival have announced the nominees for the 2017 SXSW Gaming Awards. Not surprisingly, Dishonored 2, Doom, Overwatch, Titanfall 2, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will all be competing for the coveted “Video Game of the Year” award.

Appearing over and over again throughout SXSW 2017’s 23 categories, the nominating committee was very impressed with these five titles. However, Overwatch definitely lead the way with nine total nominations including “Esports Game of the Year,” “Trending Game of the Year,” “Excellence in Design,” “Most Promising New Intellectual Property,” “Most Memorable Character” (for Tracer), “Excellence in Multiplayer,” “Excellence in Art,” and “Excellence in Animation.”

The 2017 SXSW Gaming Awards will be held on Saturday, March 18, and fans are invited to vote for their favorites from now until February 10 at IGN.com. The winners in each category will ultimately be decided by a 50/50 vote between the public and the SXSW Gaming Advisory Board.

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

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Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment will be released in April

Yacht Club Games has confirmed (via the PlayStation Blog) that Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment will be available in April.

The Specter of Torment expansion will serve as a prequel to the entire Shovel Knight saga, and will actually turn the game into an acrobatic platformer reminiscent of Ninja Gaiden. Body Swap Mode, Two-Player Co-Op, and a Sound Test Mode will also be available as part of the free update.

Fans who want to give Specter of Torment a shot before its Spring debut should find a way to travel down to San Antonio next weekend, because the developer is going to demo the expansion at this year’s PAX South expo.

However, if you’ve never played Shovel Knight before, you’ll be able to dig into the series in a new way this April. New fans will be able to pick up Specter of Torment as a standalone game, and Yacht Club also plans to re-release the original campaign (rechristened Shovel of Hope) and the Plague of Shadows expansions separately as well. Current owners of Shovel Knight will be upgraded to the Treasure Trove bundle, which will also be available in April, and will include access to all future Shovel Knight content.

The Specter of Torment expansion will be available in April for all owners of Shovel Knight on the 3DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, and Xbox One.

The standalone re-releases (Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope, Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows, and Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment) will also be available in April for the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.

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

Gravity Rush 2, Power Rangers: Mega Battle, Flame in the Flood, more added to PS Store

Go Go Power Rangers…

Sony has pushed out this week’s PlayStation Store update, and leading the charge is Bandai Namco’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle, a side-scrolling beat ’em up fort he PS4 that’s based on the first season of the show.

Also available to download today is The Flame in the Flood, a roguelike survival game for the PS4. Developed by The Molasses Flood, players will help a girl and her dog fight to survive as they travel on foot and by raft down a procedurally-generated river.

Finally, Sony Japan Studio’s Gravity Rush 2 will be available to download for the PS4 beginning on Friday. The gravity-defying action game is a direct continuation to the story from the first game, as Kat is still searching for her identity and still fighting to protect the very fabric of the universe.

A complete list of this week’s new releases can be found after the break. (more…)

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