Five months ago, modder H1Vltg3 gave us an Iron Man script
Repulsor rays and the chest beam have better sound effects and a lot more oomph. Jarvis talks to you when you slam into the ground or the side of a building. Melee attacks look like someone's really getting hit by powered armor.
Want to play? Download it here.
A Minnesota man working on a fixer-upper tore down a wall and found, among the newspapers stuffed inside to insulate it, a copy of Action Comics No. 1. That's right, Superman's first appearance. The birth of superhero comics. It'll go for at least $100,000—but it could have sold for a lot more.
In a gobsmacking story by the Star Tribune of Minneapolis earlier this week, David Gonzalez tells of how he found the comic book, showed it to one of his in-laws, and in a heated argument that followed, tore its back cover—a defect that lopped $75,000 off its potential value, in one appraiser's view.
Gonzalez's Action #1 currently has a bid of $107,333 (Update: It's over $135,000 now), in an auction being run by a New York auction house through June 11. That's still more than 10 times than the price he paid for the home where he found it, which had a torn roof and was scheduled to be demolished until he picked it up for $10,100.
Go read the story, it's dumbfounding that someone could still find an edition of the most valuable comic book in the world—even one graded at 1.5 out of 10 in condition—in this way, and tragic that his in-laws damaged it.
Last week, Madden NFL 25 announced an "Anniversary Edition" that at first didn't seem like it had much to offer. Then word started to circulate in an officially unofficial way that a promo code could be used to watch DirecTV's Sunday Ticket NFL broadcast on a PC, with or without signing up with the satellite provider.
Well, this being Madden, this being big bad Electronic Arts and, more relevantly, this being the NFL and its less-than-consumer-friendly TV policies, few believed it. After all, the official news release doesn't straight up say this is how you can use the offer, which seems to be more about giving a discount toward a DirecTV subscription. The code, which gives Sunday Ticket access on PC, tablet or mobile phone, is referred to more or less as an alternative for those who cannot receive DirecTV service. Considering DirecTV has 35 million subscribers, there would seem to be few in America who can't get it, but it's true in the case of dorm rooms and some apartment buildings where you can't mount a dish.
So, through the past week word spread that this was going to be a screwjob. You'd buy a hundred-dollar Madden and be unable to use the thing you really wanted because DirecTV would know, by zipcode or IP address or whatever, that its service was available to you.
I'm not ordinarily in the business of policing special edition offers but this one, being enticing to me on a personal level (I have no cable or satellite TV but watch a ton of sports over the Internet), was interesting enough I went to the man putting his name on this unofficially official offer
I asked Stevenson if I could use this code to watch Sunday Ticket on my iPad even if I had no intention of signing up with DirecTV.
"There is a unique code in every single anniversary edition, and that code will entitle you to the 17-week full-season trial on PC, tablets and mobile devices," Stevenson said, and I started grinding my teeth.
Why can't we get a simple yes or no?
"We absolutely understand there is some confusion with the language, and how it is written," he said. "To bring this great deal to life—it's very complex and complicated, involving the NFL and its television partners, and DirecTV. The reason is because everyone's interests have to be protected and this has to be written in a certain way."
There's a lot of reading between the lines here. So I'll say what Stevenson could not above: Sunday Ticket is not a thing greatly loved by networks that have paid billions-with-a-b to broadcast Sunday afternoon games. To straight-up invite people to ditch a television set altogether and watch this stuff online, while it may be within the terms of DirecTV's deal with the NFL, is a provocation to its biggest licensing partners. Hence the unofficially-official offer, and the heavily lawyered wording of the news release and the line Stevenson must toe.
The "unable to get DirecTV service" thing is just a fig leaf that allows DirecTV to put out this service, and then let you figure out how to exploit it. You self-select whether or not you have DirecTV access. Protip: Say you do not. Really, how is it going to know? It doesn't matter if there's a contractor in the area to connect you. Maybe you have a landlord that won't allow you to mount a dish to the house you rent.
This is how it works when you use the Sunday Ticket app on the PlayStation Network (note: This offer does not give you access to the PS3's app.) Sunday Ticket on a mobile device is otherwise only possible if you sign up for the deluxe "Sunday Ticket Max" package, which requires a DirecTV subscription. This is a code that essentially breaks off that feature and gives it to you for $40 above Madden's cost.
Madden special editions have been, candidly, kind of a snooze up to now. They get a different, sometimes prettier cover and some exclusive in-game content, usually for the Ultimate Team mode (and there's a bunch of that in the Anniversary Edition, too.) This, though, has legitimate value. I almost pulled the trigger on getting Sunday Ticket on the PS3 last year, but didn't, because I work weekends and my lone TV is in a room well away from my office. That changes if it's on my iPad here at my desk. No extra TV, no cable or satellite subscription.
So, I'm going in on this, even if I get a copy of Madden free in advance to review. And if I get screwed, well, I know where Anthony works and what he looks like. I'll say hello for you.
It's Memorial Day weekend, and today also is the 36th anniversary of Star Wars' release. This is a perfect time to remember all of the pilots from Gold and Red squadrons who didn't make it back. Stay on target!
What's happened in the business of video games this past week ... QUOTE | "I would say, hang on to your 360."—Albert Penello, product planning boss for the Xbox One, talking about the genesis of the Xbox One and its lack of backward compatibility with Xbox 360 games.
QUOTE | "There has to be some concern that Microsoft is biting off more than they can chew."—DFC analyst David Cole, reacting along with other analysts to the Xbox One reveal.
QUOTE | "It wasn't about games, it was about a set-top box."—Andy Schatz of Pocketwatch Games, creators of Monaco, along with other indie developers talking about their reactions to the Xbox One unveiling.
QUOTE | "Activision is the master of diluting intellectual property value ... Call of Duty is at risk of being next."—Asif Khan, stock analyst, explaining why he is recommending that investors Hold, not Buy on Activision stock.
QUOTE | "Our anticipation is that generation 8 will be at least 30 per cent bigger."—Chris Lewis, Microsoft Europe's VP of Interactive Entertainment, talking about how the console market will continue to grow.
QUOTE | "I figured that question would come up; Microsoft has said they will support [used games]."—GameStop president Tony Bartel, responding to analyst questions about whether used games will work on Xbox One.
QUOTE | "I hope people weren't confused about games still being absolutely critical and fundamental to us."—Harvey Eagle, Xbox UK marketing chief, explaining that the Xbox One is a game machine despite the unveiling's emphasis on other features.
QUOTE | "We need to push ourselves and get away from sequels and rehashing."—Jeremy Pope, former manager of production on Grand Theft Auto titles, talking about where he thinks game design needs to go.
QUOTE | "Early Access is freaking fantastic for testing out a release without actually releasing."—Dejobaan Games' president Ichiro Lambe, talking about Valve's Early Access program on Steam.
STAT | 47.7%—Amount of new PS3 and Xbox 360 games in the US that are sold by GameStop; the company is hoping this number grows for Xbox One and PS4 software sales.
QUOTE | "The Ouya is for those who want the cutting edge, experimental or du jour content that wouldn't find its way to the console."—Designer and consultant Will Luton, explaining how he's come to think the Ouya will be a success.
QUOTE | "How does an idea become an immersive game experience?"—Jeremy Snead, director of Video Games: The Movie, talking about what led him to create this documentary.
This Week in the Business courtesy of GamesIndustry International
Image by Shutterstock
Oh, man, what a week! The next Xbox, officially called Xbox One
I'm pooped out from planning for E3, which is a great place to be before the actual chaos that is E3, so I'll wrap this up quick and get back to my long weekend.
Reader Jules is from Ireland. He's cosplaying here as Old Republic's enormous Darth Malgus, which might seem ambitious, but when you consider Jules stands 6' 6" himself - 6' 8" in the costume - you start to realise how perfect this is.
He built the costume entirely himself; the other people you see in the video below are only there to help him get dressed.
While we're talking about the video, isn't it awesome? Cosplay photos are great, don't get me wrong, but a video like this really helps you get a sense of how complete and detailed the costume is, because you can see it standing up to his range of movement (and looking good from all angles).
Darth Malgus Costume Test [YouTube]
The Xbox One has awesome new rumbling triggers, which can offer feedback. Nick Robinson over at Unwinnable has some issues with this: it's now possible for the triggers to resemble, you know, real triggers. It's a resemblance that makes him feel uncomfortable, but beyond that: what happens when we can't say pulling a trigger on a game is nothing like pulling a trigger in real life anymore?
Check out Anamanaguchi's newest video from their album Endless Fantasy. Go ahead, jean-jacket pizza-delivery science girl. You can help them expand the album beyond mere music by supporting them on Kickstarter.
The Onion is ready for the next generation of video game consoles. Here's their report on Xbox One. It's surprisingly accurate.
The reveal of the Xbox One might have overshadowed content on the Internet this week, but that certainly wasn't the case for the craftiest of internet denizens who convert anything worthy into an animated GIF. Whether it's some sort of a video game glitch, like giant Spock's terrifying stare above, or a nice form of art, we sifted and sorted to grab the most popular ones for you.
Just as we did last time, it is time to round up some of the funniest and greatest animated GIFs that popped up during the week.
The game might be years old, but Grand Theft Auto IV, with the correct mods, is still an unlimited source of fun and place to defy gravity.
Horses of the Wild West in Red Dead Redemption need to chill out.
Pedro M Filho invites us for some heady GameBoy-Ception.
We featured the animated aftershock of the Xbox One reveal earlier, but this little fella explaining the console's name missed the round-up.
After some nice animated treatment to 3DS Pokémon covers from last week, the other generations also got theirs.
Could this scene possibly be the only part of Metro: Last Light that's not depressing?
Waywarddoodles has a really good idea of how to spend the weekend and test the strength of your friendships.
Bumped into a GIF during the week that is much better? Hit the comments and post them!
To contact the author of this post, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
T-shirt purveyor Meatbun is having a Memorial Day sale, in which objects of art like these two Kotaku t-shirts are on sale for $5 each. You should buy them all. All of them.
Ever wonder why Metal Gear Solid comes with the tagline “Tactical Espionage Action” printed right on the box? Well that’s simple. While it may be a tagline in the West, it’s actually the game’s official genre in Japan.
While in Japanese stores games are listed under the typical, broad genres you'd expect—i.e. RPG, action, shooter, simulation—game developers themselves often create a special genre for their games when promoting them.
Below is a list we have complied showcasing many of these invented genres. See if you can guess which game each genre was created for based on the genre alone. Then click here and check your answers.
Enormous Breast Hyper Battle
Blood-Stained Swordplay Action
Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment
Professional Killer Action Adventure
Just Friend Collecting
Lightning Bolt Action
Escape × Suspense
Team Battle Action
Cinematic Action RPG
Flight Action RPG
“Rescue” Multiplayer Action
Maybe you've heard the entirety of Daft Punk's latest, Random Access Memories. But I'm guessing you haven't heard the album in an 8-bit style, as a single song. Thankfully, Joe Jeremiah can indulge you there, with this here video.
A-Bit of Daft Punk [Joe Jeremiah]
The mobile collectible card genre has exploded over the past year, with players shelling out big bucks for virtual cards with statistics assigned to them. Players for teams of heroes, demons, pirates or robots and take them into battle, which is generally nothing more than a quick stats comparison. What if a game in the genre had actual arcade gameplay? Why, then it would be Battlestone.
Battlestone began life as Golden Arrow, a much cooler-looking action game, which drew the attention of the folks at Zynga. Zynga purchased the developer, adding the group that worked on The Force Unleashed to their talent pool and transforming their game into a cartoony shadow of its former self.
The end result is Battlestone, a free-to-play game that marries the action role-playing genre with collectible card game mechanics. Instead of summoning cards, you summon different varieties of 3D heroes, each with its own strengths and abilities. You can still sacrifice lesser heroes to strengthen more useful ones, upgrading their stats. You can still join a guild and participate in special events. The difference is that instead of watching numbers clash on the screen, you're controlling your characters' movements directly.
Now before you get to any of that, be prepared to see quite a bit of this.
I could barely play the game for a minute the first time I downloaded it without having to wait 10-15 minutes for files to download. Instead of bringing the game down in one huge chunk, Zynga decided to try out streaming files. Hopefully it doesn't do that again.
Once you can get anywhere without a loading screen, the combat in Battlestone is quite simply and satisfying. You tap to move across the playfield, swiping enemies up close or from afar to initiate attacks. Each character in your party has special attacks they can use at regular intervals, from arrow flares to earthquakes. It's about as casual an action role-playing game as they come.
I just wish there was a little more meat to the story mode. It's laid out across a series of maps, each with a selection of short mission types — kill x number of creatures, find three keys to unlock a door — none of which take more than a couple of minutes to complete. Once the player completes all of the smaller missions to 100 percent (each much be performed multiple times, the difficulty increasing with each instance), a boss fight occurs. When that's done the day is saved, and the player gets a set of eponymous rocks to use to summon new warriors to their stable.
There's a multiplayer aspect to Battlestone, but it's very slim. Players are able to duel with AI representations of other players to win fame and more of them Battlestones. There's no direct interaction, and the battles are incredibly easy. I'm not really sure the feature is even necessary.
As with games in the collectible card game genre proper, the real joy in Battlestone is collecting characters and building the ultimate party. Using those characters in real combat, however simple it might be, is a truly welcome diversion.
- Genre: Collectible Character Action RPG
- Developer: November Software
- Platform: iOS
- Price: Free
I watched the trailer for the upcoming Batman game that got released earlier this week and immediately had one inescapable thought: You can’t tell it’s a prequel. That’s not a good thing.
Nothing about Batman’s look or affect in the four-minute clip makes it seem like he’s in the early days of his crimefighting career. Overall, it could be just another Batman video game that looks like the last ones. That’s to be expected, of course, as Warner Bros’ marketing folks want it to be viewed as part of the same franchise despite being made by a different studio. But trying to do so misses the best thing a prequel has going for it.
Arkham Origins’ biggest opportunity is to show a Bruce Wayne who’s building this identity called Batman. There’s a lot of raw storytelling ore to found in the Dark Knight’s early days. Hell, there’s a whole subgenre of Bat-mythos concerned with just the first year of Batman’s crusade. But the key to having such endeavors work is to ensure they don’t make the audience scratch their head about the long narrative life story of the character.
Sure, the idea of a video-scrubbing investigation mechanic sounds cool and, based on what Stephen Totilo’s written on it, it could be one of the better additions to the Batman game formula. But, unless it’s presented as Batman learning to be a better detective, it’s just a gameplay gimmick. Same goes for enemies being to able to counter Batman’s strikes. If it’s understood that they can do that because a younger Batman isn’t as skilled a fighter, then, sure, throw the countered counter counters at me. It's the problem with any prequel. How do you make players feel like they're as much of a bad-ass as they were in earlier games, while making the character seem like a novice?
Trickier still, any explanations could themselves break the trance that Warner Bros. Montreal is trying to cast on the player. Now the game could be an extended flashback narrated by an older Batman. You know, the whole “I was young and cocky” bit. However they handle these prequel problems, they’ll need to be careful not to make a more inexperienced Batman seem like bigger bad-ass than the older versions in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. And that needs to be done without making Batman feel wimpier than in those games.
It can be done. Batman: Year One, the Mask of the Phantasm movie and the Venom storyline all deliver a Bruce Wayne who’s far more fallible than the hero he’d later become. You understand why he becomes a loner, an obsessive planner and more emotionally closed-off. In fact, the idea that you as a player are helping Batman evolve—taking him from a rich guy in an armored suit to a fearsome shadow predator—could be the most compelling thing that Arkham Origins brings to the table. The previous Bat-games let you play a Dark Knight at his peak. This one should let you help him get there.
Earlier this week, we took a brief look at Nintendoji, a Nintendo title only available to gold or platinum members of the Japanese Club Nintendo.
And because of its very limited release, both Japanese and Westerners are unlikely to be able to ever play it—which is a real shame as it is a fun, cute, and more than a bit of an addictive game.
Good – Cell Shaded Sumie
It’s no secret that I love me some games with sumie inspired graphics. The character models in Nintendoji mix sumie aesthetics with the cel-shaded style of Wind Waker. So what we’re left with is an art style full of dark or muted colors perfectly setting a world of abandoned temples to explore. And while as a game designed for the DSi it doesn’t live up to the image quality of 3DS games, the art direction more than makes up for it.
Good – Puzzle and Dungeon Gameplay
Nintendoji plays largely like a turn-based dungeon crawler. Each turn, you draw several priestly seals from your stack of them. Each of them has a number on it. If you choose and use said card, that number is the amount of spaces you have to move in the dungeon. In addition, many of the seals have a special magical effect—like using wind magic to fly directly to your final square, for example—if you have enough magic collected.
On each floor of the dungeon there are crystal balls you need to activate to proceed and monsters you need to avoid (or kill if you have the right items). The trick is to plan your movements carefully so you don't run out of your priestly seals.
In some ways, Nintendoji is as much Minesweeper as it is a dungeon crawler—and that is where most of the strategy aspect comes in. While you need to make the most of each priestly seal you use, you are also unable to see most of each map until you move within a few spaces of the unexplored area. Thus moving too brashly can lead you right into the mouth of a hungry monster. To counter this, you have a special power that tells you how many squares away the nearest monster is—even if you cannot see him. If used correctly, navigating becomes much simpler—but still challenging.
Good – Quirky Nintendo Humor
Nintendoji as a game has more than its share of tongue-in-check humor. The main priest at the shrine is the Kappa from fellow eShop downloadable title Sakura Samurai: Heart of the Sword. Moreover, the holy relics you find in the dungeon are taken right from other Nintendo games, be that a barrel from Donkey Kong or a giant turnip from Super Mario Bros. 2. While story is hardly the focus of the game, what little that exists is cute, quirky, and 100% Nintendo.
Mixed – A One Trick Pony
Beyond mucking about in the dungeon or shopping to prepare for your next trip, there isn't much else to Nintendoji. The only thing that really changes as you progress is the difficulty. Your movements have to be more carefully chosen and the enemies aren’t the pushovers they once were. Moreover, it takes a fair amount of replays of past areas to stock up on the money and supplies you need for the later levels of the game; so your progression will occasionally grind to a halt.
On one hand, I don’t know if I should feel sad that few people will ever play Nintendoji or feel happy that the game was released as such a heartfelt gift to Nintendo’s most supportive fans.
Personally, I really enjoyed the game—though I will admit I was more than a little angry each time a monster appeared suddenly and ate me because of a careless step on my part. However, if you like dungeon crawlers or Minesweeper-esque puzzle games, this game is a great way to spend a few hours. The biggest problem it has is simply the obstacle of obtaining a copy.
Nintendoji was released on April 4, 2013, on the Japanese 3DS eShop. It is only available to Gold and Platinum Nintendo Club members. There is no word on an international release.
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.
Phil Spencer, Microsoft Game Studio's vice president, has a relationship with games that seems kind of terrifying. VideoGamerTV recreates it here, and it may give us an early glimpse at what using the full extent of the Xbox One's capabilities may be like.
Seriously though: do any of you actually play games like that? I can barely listen to music while writing!
The Xbox One Experience (VideoGamer.com) [VideoGamerTV]
I have a confession to make: I hate JRPGs. I also love them. Then I hate them. And I love them. And so on and so forth for 40 hours or so.
I've been thinking a lot, over the past week, about the ambivalent relationship we have with video games. This was triggered by Star Ocean: The Last Hope, a game in which you travel between planets and kill aliens with swords. The Last Hope is the fourth game in the Star Ocean series, which is known both for intimate character relationships and ridiculous plot twists involving aliens and optical illusions. It's basically the Japanese version of Mass Effect.
I started playing The Last Hope for the first time last weekend, and I found myself simultaneously captivated and disgusted with the fact that I was captivated.
I get that a lot. It's tough to reconcile. But I think it's normal.
Here's my theory: a good video game—especially a good JRPG—is a rollercoaster. It has setup and payoff. It has peaks and valleys. You wade through moments of bullshit because the adventure is fulfilling—and because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
So I'm playing the latest Star Ocean. I'm wandering through the alien-infested ship that serves as one of the game's earliest dungeons. I see a random enemy on the map. I try to get away. He chases me down. He's faster than I am. He catches up, the screen dissolves, and suddenly I'm in a random battle.
During that moment, I feel a little burst of annoyance, because I have to waste the next 30 seconds of my life taking this guy down. Instead of doing something *fun*, like setting plasma bombs to open up doors and hunt for treasure, or taking down some big boss thanks to careful strategy and skill, I am spamming the A-button and checking my email.
That burst of annoyance is met by an equally tangible burst of pleasure when the victory music starts to play and I watch my characters gain experience. Sometimes they level up. Sometimes I get a cool item. And the endorphins rush in.
Can't have the highs without the lows, right? Without those moments of annoyance, what would be the point? How could we enjoy the victory without fighting to get there in the first place?
There's a quote that's always stuck with me, from Edge's Jason Killingsworth, perhaps because it so brilliantly illustrates how I always—always!—feel about the video games I enjoy.
Over the course of a review, the critic needs to be able to say: I love this game, then I hate this game, then I love this game, and so on.
People always ask me why I dislike Final Fantasy XIII. It's so pretty, after all, and the combat system sure is unique. But it's sterile. It's one long ride through mediocrity, a plateau of lame dialogue ("Bring the L'Cie to the Fal'Cie!") and decision-free adventuring. I didn't have a love-hate relationship with that game. I didn't have a relationship with it at all.
So even as I groan at much of Star Ocean's voice acting (why do all modern console JRPGs always have a child party member?) and wince at the random encounters, I'm gonna keep playing. Because the best games aren't the ones you love, or the ones you hate. The best games—like the best relationships—are the ones that simultaneously do both. Those are the ones we remember.
Princess Zelda heard about all those "draw my life" videos on YouTube and decided to try her artistic hand at a similar one for herself. She's certainly had a...unique enough life to warrant one.
These kind of videos can be a really emotional or fascinating look into someone's personal life, but I think doing them for video game characters is a really neat idea. It's also a pretty fun way of either reminiscing about a video game or learning about one you never played. We need more of these.