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It’s been a while since I’ve played point and click adventure games; they were a childhood staple for me. Most kids had either a Gameboy or a console, both if they were lucky, for me it was adventure and educational computer games. I grew up in a strict household where if we were having fun we better be doing something that wasn’t making our brain rot so that’s how I ended up playing lots of point and click games. From what I remember most of those games probably wouldn’t be much fun for me today, but those mystery and puzzle games had always been fun to figure out. Apart from Nancy Drew I hadn’t really ventured in the point and click adventure game genre since but Broken Sword 2 has refreshed my curiosity.

smoking mirror 2 title

Definitely not for kids it’s the second game in the Broken Sword series which revolve around the adventures of George Stobbart and Nico Collard. The remastered game is available in both PC and mobile devices in download format. In this installment Nico goes with George to investigate a carved Mayan stone she came across while investigating a drug ring. When she goes to a professor’s house to get more info George is knocked out and she is immediately abducted. The game has you step in the shoes of both Nico and George to unravel a strange conspiracy that puts their lives in danger and might have the fate of the world rest in its balance.

The controls are easy to figure out in both mobile and computer with options to look, talk, pick up, and interact depending on the nature of the thing you’re clicking on. With simple controls you’re free to examine and figure your way through the game. One of the things that has always been frustrating for me was the common stuck feeling I always got when playing through these types of games, but Broken Sword 2 has hints to help you through the game when you need a nudge. My favorite thing about the hint feature is the games give you escalating hints that go from slight nudges to detailed instructions on what to do the more hints you ask for, which allows you to still get the satisfaction of figuring things out and not have to consult walkthroughs if you hit a brick wall.

This game is hard enough to not be a one sitting game, requiring me to stop playing halfway through so I don’t finish by the time the sun rises again. According to Steam I played for 8 hours, your experience may vary.

smokingmirrordialogue

Perhaps what made my game drag out so much was the witty dialogue and excellent voice acting, which had me pick every talking option with the other characters. If you’re like me in that aspect you’ll enjoy some of the jokes throughout the game, one of my favorite involves a tequila worm I picked up, and you have the option of showing it to most characters you encounter in the game with Stobbart himself seeming to notice his strange attraction to the worm as the game progresses. Everything else is top notch too. This game came out in the 90′s so there’s only so much you can remaster until it loses its old fashioned charm, and to me it seems tweaked enough to still feel like a game from the era but enough retouching to make the game look like a really good version of its old self. The cut scenes are some of the most gratifying things you get out of the game and push you to see how the story ends. The new game even comes with a prequel comic, a great bonus for such a satisfying game.

Smoking Mirror 2 bonus comic

So what I’m saying is you should definitely check out the remastered version of Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror, it’s a great game. If you want to watch the trailer be mindful that it might contain some spoilers.


By Jessica Brister On 8 Aug, 2014 At 09:18 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, PC Games, Previews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
Sims4_Create_a_Sim

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Electronic Arts granted the Sims 4 Create a Sim Demo to some fans who signed up last month.  If you were not lucky enough to get the demo, here are some things that you can look forward to when the full game comes out September 2:

Performance

I ran the demo on my laptop without any issue.  It is an HP Pavilion dv6 Notebook with an AMD A6-34200M with an integrated graphics card and six GB of memory.  This is the same device in which I typically play Sims 3, though I definitely cannot turn up the graphics.  The laptop is nothing fancy, especially for gaming, but it was able to chew right through the Sims 4 demo without any issues (I also was also toggling back and forth between social media sites, a couple of Microsoft Word documents, and the demo).  I did notice that the game automatically set me to the lowest graphics and put me in a “laptop mode,” so I’m assuming that it will look awesome on a much better computer.  Overall, I thought the demo was very stable.  There were no hiccups or bugs to report and everything actually ran very smoothly.  I was impressed, considering how slow Sims 3 Create a Sim works.  However, this is also with every expansion packet included.

If you are wondering if your computer will play Sims 4, here is the official minimum requirements from EA.

This is the Sim I designed, based off of myself in the lowest graphics setting.  It still looks great.

This is the Sim I designed, based off of myself in the lowest graphics setting. It still looks great.

 Ease of Use

The sliders of the past are now gone.  Sims 4 utilizes a more natural approach to creating a Sim by allowing the player to click on a part of a Sim and working from there.  Of course, there are pre-set body types, faces, and whatnot, but you can still customize a Sim without a lot of hassle.  I was easily able to choose traits and create a Sim without looking at a tutorial or feeling lost for very long.  I felt like most of it was very intuitive.  I was also able to quickly create the Sim that I wanted without a lot of issues.  Overall, I was impressed with how this demo functioned, and I hope the rest of the game feels the same way.

Just click on the body part you want to modify.  The game is very intuitive.

Just click on the body part you want to modify. The game is very intuitive.

Cool Stuff

Although there aren’t a ton of hairstyles and outfits (not sure if this is what we’ll get with the real game or if this is just for the demo), there was enough to feel like a “full” game.  I was able to create a cool character  with the selection of traits, styles, and clothing, which is all I really care about at this point.  One of the coolest aspects of the demo was the introduction to the gallery, which looked to be in full swing already.  I was able to upload my created Sim to the gallery and look at other people’s Sims as well.  If I chose to use someone else’s Sim as my own, it was easy to select it and place it in my own game.

Traits or "aspirations" did not have as large a list as Sims 3, but it still had a really good selection to get your Sim's personality right.

Traits or “aspirations” did not have as large a list as Sims 3, but it still had a really good selection to get my Sim’s personality right.

I was starting to get a little disheartened over some of the news I had heard about Sims 4 (i.e. no toddlers, no cars, not an open world), but if the rest of the game is anything like the Create a Sim Demo, I think the game will be alright.

 

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Are normal vacations getting too expensive?  Tired of traveling for hours and hours?  Fed up with how your vacations usually go?  Why not try a video game vacation?  Besides being cheaper and less of a hassle than real vacations, video game vacations allow you to go wherever you’d like–both real places and imagined–without a passport or plane ticket.

Join Real Otaku Gamer every week for a highlight of some of the best video game places to visit.  After reading, click the link at the bottom to take the survey on which place you’d prefer to have a video game vacation.  Don’t forget to check out the previous weeks’ spots if you’ve missed them!

This week’s featured place: Skyrim

Game: Skyrim

Skyrim_dragon

About: Skyrim is a land of war, magic, and dragons.  The area is a massive sandbox that makes RPG-lovers want to dive right in.  Skyrim is a province of the Empire, but it has been having issues lately since the Stormcloaks have started a war, demanding independence.  Even, worse, dragons have come back and only you can siphon their souls as Dragonborn

Why Visit: The map is so huge that it is possible to play for hours and hours just wandering around.  The different races and political intrigue keep things interesting.  Unlike other RPGs, you gain experience of a skill by using the skill, making it possible to specialize in many areas.  Just watch out for those pesky dragons and dungeons, which is obviously not cliché at all.

map-Skyrim

Must See Areas:

  • Visit quaint little villages (just don’t kill any chickens while you’re there).
  • Enjoy the capital city of Solitude and visit the Bard’s college.
  • Become at mage at the College of Winterhold.
  • Experience the shady side of life in the Thieves’ Guild.

What do you think? Which video game vacation would you prefer? Click here to take the survey and let ROG know where you’d like to go. Be sure to come back next week for another location.

Week 4: Pittsburgh
Week 3: Pandora
Week 2: Chicago
Week 1: Rapture

 

PAX South

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PAX South

At PAX East earlier this year, it was announced that there would be a PAX South in San Antonio, Texas. PAX South is to be held from January 23 to January 25.

Yesterday, Penny Arcade randomly announced at 1:11 pm via Twitter that PAX South tickets were on sale.  Within 2 hours, 3 day passes sold out.

Fortunately, single day passes are still available for purchase at http://south.paxsite.com/registration.

You can follow Penny Arcade on Twitter at @Official_PAX.

I will be at PAX South. Will you? What did you think of how they informed the public about the tickets being on sale? Let us know in the comments!

Pandorasign

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Tired of spending a bunch of money to get away for the summer?  Don’t want to travel any farther than your coach?  Try a video game vacation!  The great thing about video games is that they can take a person anywhere–to places both real and imagined, and they don’t require plane tickets or a passport.

Join Real Otaku Gamer every week for a highlight of some of the best video games places.  After reading, take the survey at the bottom to vote for your favorite video game vacation spot.

Don't let the grim appearance  fool you; Pandora is a fun place to visit.

Don’t let the grim appearance fool you; Pandora is a fun place to visit.

This week’s featured place: Pandora

Game: Borderlands & Borderlands 2

Pandora is the place for adventure and excitement.  First settled as a colony for people looking to get away from Earth, the new inhabitants had no idea how crazy this planet really was.  Harsh, indigenous life and rough conditions and a barren climate kept all from the die-hards from leaving.  The planet has been under control by one corporation or another, although many of the locals of Pandora can be a bit eccentric and sometimes downright cannibalistic.  Don’t let this deter you from visiting, though.  The lure of riches and treasures from legendary “vaults” around the planet lure people to the planet every year.   A true vault hunter will have an enjoyable visit, no matter what!

Sanctuary is a great place to kick back and relax.

Sanctuary is a great place to kick back and relax.

Packages include:

  • One way ticket to Pandora.
  • Access to over seventeen million weapon combinations.
  • Free car rentals in the Catch-a-Ride system.
  • One special ability perk, depending on what character you go as.
  • Get your own personal Claptrap to annoy you.
Enjoy the quiet beauty of Pandora!

Enjoy the quiet beauty of Pandora!

Pandora at a glance:

Accommodations:

  • Stay in New Haven (Borderlands 1) or Sanctuary (Borderlands 2).

Dining:

  • Visit Moxxi’s Red Light, a popular bar in Pandora.
  • Have a drink at the Holy Spirits, a pub ran by a local clan.

Entertainment:

  • Talk to Claptrap.  He’s very entertaining and a little depressing.
  • Play D&D with Tiny Tina (Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon’s Keep DLC).
  • Participate in one of Sir Hammerlock’s hunts.
  • Blow up bad guys in multiple rounds at Fink’s Slaughterhouse.

Shopping:

  • Dr. Zed (not a real doctor) has many vending machines for health and shields as well as a physical place where he practices.
  • Check out any of Marcus’s weapon vending machines for a good deal.

Sight-Seeing:

  • Stop by Ellie’s garage for a car upgrade.
  • Visit Crazy Earl’s Scrapyard.
  • Drive around the Arid Nexus.
  • Go to Lynchwood, a real-life wild west town.
  • Sight-see around the wasteland of the Eridium Blight.

What do you think?  Which video game vacation would you prefer? Click here to take the survey
and let ROG know where you’d like to go. Be sure to come back next week for another location.

Last Week: Chicago
Week 1: Rapture

 

Watch_Dogs_front

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Watch_Dogs is the much-anticipated blockbuster game from Ubisoft that makes hacking look cool.  While the game feels very GTA-inspired, it actually stands on its own as a unique game play experience.  The game is a lot of fun.  It will definitely sell a lot of copies and make Ubisoft a lot of money.  However, it does not feel like a game that is going to stand out as one that people will remember for years and years down the road.  There’s a lot to like about this game, but unfortunately, there’s not much to love.

WatchDogs_cover

Note: This review is being done for PS4 without any added DLCs.  PC users have complained of issues about the game.  My colleagues have reported buggy problems with the game as well, point to the Conspiracy DLC as a possible culprit.  I personally did not have any of these issues, but it is good to be cautious. Watch_Dogs is a third-person/driving action adventure game that was released on May 27 this year.  It was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft.  It is an open-world game that allows that player to explore the streets of a digital version of Chicago.  The game incorporates an online multiplayer element as well as several “mini games” throughout the main game. The story follows hacker Aiden Pearce, an anti-hero who skirts the law in order to bring about justice.  After a hacking heist that went bad, Aiden is bound and determined to go after the people responsible.  Known as “The Vigilante,” he is ready to bring down the people who messed up his life.  Overall, the story was pretty strong.  It’s actually a lot deeper than any GTA plot, and it definitely gives the player some things to think about.  Is it memorable for years to come?  Probably not.  But it is entertaining and does hold some value.

Aiden Pearce is a very cool character.

Aiden Pearce is a very cool character.

Game play is probably one of the game’s stronger points.  For one thing, there is a variety for the player.  Some of the game is car-oriented.  Other parts are solely on foot.  Most missions highlight Aidan’s hacking abilities, which are a nice added bonus to the game and can be quite fun.  The game play is often compared to a GTA game, but they are really only similar.  In Watch_Dogs, unless the player wants to go the “evil” route, killing pedestrians and police officers is a “no-no.”  Much of the game involves strategy and sneak skills.  It is very similar to a game like The Last of Us, where the player can go the sneaky route and not shoot a single round or go the more direct route and get into a fire-fight.  Having the option to do either adds to the game play variety.  There is also a skill point tree and a HP system.  Aidan learns new things as he gets more experience, making a ten minute police chase seem a lot less annoying when the player gets points after it.

The game may look like a GTA game, but it actually plays very differently.

The game may look like a GTA game, but it actually plays very differently.

The graphics in Watch_Dogs really demonstrates what the new next-gen consoles can handle.  The level of detail is amazing.  From the potholes in the street to the reflection of the rain to the dampness of Aidan’s coat when the player makes him take a plunge in a river, the graphics are definitely a highlight for the game.  Happily, though, the graphics are not the only good thing about the game.  The graphics could be horrible, and the game would still be a lot of fun to play. This game is a lot of fun.  Whether it be the smooth game play, the cool hacking abilities, the cute mini games, and the online play, the game can truly hold its own.  It is easy to blow thirty plus hours on the game without really even trying.  There’s a lot of game play variety as well, which helps to keep things fresh and the player still interested in the game.  Even buying it at full price, the player will get his or her money out of the game. Overall, there is a lot to like about Watch_Dogs.  It’s fun.  It’s hip.  It’s cool.  However, the biggest problem with the game is that it’s not exactly “epic.”  Even though Ubisoft will probably be making more sequels, the game doesn’t exactly feel memorable.  It’s not exactly “top video game of all time” material.  In fact, it’s not even close.  It doesn’t have the same feel as some other games that make you think about them even years after playing them.  Watch_Dogs is definitely a good game, but it’s not a great game.  That’s not exactly a problem, since most gamers don’t expect every game to be great.  But we can hope, right?  

By Isabel On 16 Jun, 2014 At 12:02 AM | Categorized As PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
Oops, I cast a bad spell, I wonder what kind of shenanigans will occur.

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I kind of have a thing many people find weird. I love visual novels. In a medium where some of the most talked about subjects is either graphics or game play mechanics it seems unusual to some one of my favorite types of video games amounts to what is essentially a mix of first person POV narrative and a choose your own adventure game. Hell some of them have no choices, which makes some gamers dismiss the genre as a whole, dubbing it as casual games without ever delving into one of the many Visual Novels out there. So if you’re trying to get someone started with Visual Novels or want to try it out for yourself, my advice is don’t play Magical Diary.

I got this ungodly spawn on a Humble Bundle sale, excited that there was finally a visual novel included in a bundle I want them to have again: the Celebrating Open Source bundle. After paying my small tribute I immediately got my Steam key to fire that baby up and, after I see the menu appear the screen turns black. I started the game again and again wondering if it was broken until I pressed a bunch of random keys and had a normal full screen. Later I figured out the problem was the game didn’t work so well with the Steam user interface that lets you chat and access other community information while you’re playing and every time it got a notification the screen inexplicably turned black, which made the game malfunction at first due to the access notification you get every time you start a game. All you have to do to fix the problem is wait for the notification to vanish and press “F” which is used to get in and out of full screen. Having to minimize and maximize the window every time a friend decided to play something or message you was really bothersome, but that was only the beginning of everything wrong with this game.

You play as a girl (no other option) who finds out she has magical powers and decides to attend a magic school. But before you go on your magical adventures you create an abominable monstrosity; seriously, it’s the worst customization options I’ve ever seen in a game. The Caucasian colors are deadly white or piggy pink, the face is all deformed and pointy so that most eye options look too big to even fit on your character’s face. Either way my first playthough I created the lovely Miss Master Destroyer.

She looks better in the thumbnail I swear!

She looks better in the thumbnail I swear!

Not always.

Not always a good thing.

This game is just, bad on so many levels. To begin there is something outside of the visual novel’s narrative, which have worked very well for games like Cherry Tree High Comedy Club but just seems like a pathetic effort at content creation on the part of this game. You have five different colors of magic. What does it really contribute to the game? Nothing at all. I’m dead serious on this, you have a few “tests” throughout the year that even if you fail miserably don’t really contribute anything to the narrative and just give you demerits you can easily earn back if you’re on good terms with a character named Donald and aren’t a complete doofus. The fact you use magic so rarely makes the act of even going through the effort of planning out your classes seem utterly pointless because the way the game is designed makes it easy to pass tests with low level magic. Not to mention sometimes the spells you use make no sense (“breeze” to locate the exit of a dungeon) and a few annoyances here and there (like when you push items).

Now on to my main issue with this game, the narrative. I don’t like make your own character games as much for a reason, it’s hard to create a story with a consistent narrative voice when the character can be anyone. My point is, it’s great for multiplayer and open world games, but not so much for single player games heavily narration based. When it comes to its characters, Magical Diary leaves much to be desired. You never learn enough about them, and some of them are pretty boring. Only character I really liked was a pretty boy called Damian. However his path is not enough to save the game from being utterly terrible. In fact, I think it leads to one of the dumbest conclusions this story can reach.

Damian Magical Diary

If you want a taste of what type of dialogue a masterpiece like Magical Diary will have these screenshot will speak for themselves.

OH GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR FACE

OH GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR FACE

Magical Diary trouble

Oops, I cast a bad spell, I wonder what kind of shenanigans will occur.

Oops, I cast a bad spell, I wonder what kind of shenanigans will occur.

The worst part is the choices the game gives you sometimes don’t seem to be rational or important at all. There are obvious turning points of course, but there are also subplots like another student’s relationship with another student you constantly help out but get nothing out of in the grand scheme of the story. I’ve explored almost all the romantic outcomes, even the ones with girls, and I can tell you this game isn’t entertaining in the slightest. Also did I mention the dialogue gets extremely repetitive? For example you get this one liner from your character every time a teacher mentions anything out of the ordinary.

Magical Diary and sex ed

I would label it “My First Visual Novel” perhaps for preteen girls, but then I feel this would be an insult to the intelligence of preteen girls. My advice is, don’t pay for Magical Diary. The official site flatters themselves by making this game worth $19.95 (at the point in time I’m writing this review) so if you must have it or your curiosity at seeing how bad this game can get is that strong, just wait for a sale or Humble Bundle, because in my opinion this game isn’t even worth $1.

If you wanna know, my impressions of this game can be seen from my loading screen.

Magical Diary load page

Mandatory video preview to close this review.


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PAX welcome

PAX East 2014 was my fourth PAX but my first time going as Media.  As always, PAX East was a great experience! Every year PAX East is held in Boston, so I enjoy being able to see another part of the East Coast while checking out all the video games.

This year I got to see many different video games, the most notable of which included This War of Mine from 11 Bit Studios, Sniper Elite 3 and Defense Grid 2 from 505 Games and Hidden Path Entertainment, and Framed from Loveshack Entertainment.  All of these games were very different from one another but brought a lot to the table to create an enjoyable experience. This War of Mine allows you to gain insight into the struggle of a war torn country from a very individual level of trying to survive day to day.  Sniper Elite 3 brought a new and fun entry into shooters with absolutely amazing and awe-worthy graphics.  Defense Grid 2 was an amazingly fun tower defense game that doesn’t fail to keep you on your toes.  Framed was a very unique entry with a puzzle style journey through a mystery.  I plan to get all of these games the minute they’re available and I highly recommend each and every one of them.

Of course, there was far more to see during PAX East as the expanse of the show floor and panels is ginormous! 2014 was definitely the year of the indie games for PAX East.  The presence of AAA games seemed to be a bit light and I was quite worried when I saw the schedule, but PAX East did not disappoint.

OSD

An organization I would definitely like to highlight is Operation Supply Drop. As an Army brat (my parents served in the Army for a long time) and having a lot of friends in the military, it definitely makes me happy to see an organization that makes it their mission to help out the troops.  Operation Supply Drop does just that and more. I met with Captain Stephen Machuga of the US Army and Charity Founder. Captain Machuga, as well as everyone at OSD’s booth exhuded passion and enthusiasm about their mission to bring “video games to soldiers in combat zones and military hospitals.”  Being in a combat zone, in military hospitals, and other areas where soldiers serve can be extremely stressful so OSD does their best to make “fun where there is none!” There was never a dull moment at the booth while there or passing and I’ve seen so much enthusiasm from the gaming community to help their cause.  It’ll be very interesting to see how OSD expands and grows further to be such a great presence for our troops.  For more information about their cause and how to help out, check out their website at www.OperationSupplyDrop.org, their Twitter @OpSupplyDrop, and their Facebook page at Facebook.com/OperationSupplyDrop.

I also got to check out numerous booths on the show floor which is always exciting. GUNNAR Optiks never disappoints with their selection of gaming eyewear. I even snagged myself a pair from their Intercept line in Ink (purple). I always get a pair of GUNNARs every time I go to PAX East and absolutely love them. Whether I’m gaming or staring at a computer screen, GUNNARs help reduce the strain in my eyes. I’ve also found that their line of sunglasses are absolutely wonderful and are far better than all of the other sunglasses that I own.

GUNNARs Intercept Ink

Me with Gunnars

As always, PAX East was a great experience and I highly recommend going if you ever get the chance.  It’s worth the fun and craziness and the video game culture galore!  Everyone is excited and happy to be there with so many things to do with such a short amount of time!

Although I may not attend next year, you may be able to catch me at PAX South and PAX Prime next year. I, also, plan to be at Otakon this summer and Baltimore Comic Con this fall.

Did you go? What did you think of PAX East? Is there anything from my experience at PAX East that you’d like to hear more about? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @LadyLoveMonster!

By Sean Jacobs On 11 Jun, 2014 At 03:58 AM | Categorized As International News, PC Games, ROG News, ROG Tech | With 1 Comment
gamescape2014

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artscape GAMESCAPE @ ARTSCAPE in Baltimore,MD  

“A showcase of video games and the creators who make them”

  Artscape is a weekend arts festival where part of the Baltimore City downtown area is filled to the brim with all sorts of sights and sounds of famous and local musical artists to world renowned talents in Rap and R&B.  While walking the streets, you will also bump into locals to share a beer with or find a new food dish to NOM NOM on.  What you normally wouldn’t find until this year is GAMESCAPE, where you can interact with international and local game developers.   You get the opportunity to play new games created by the very ones displaying them – think of a more intimate PAX convention.  There will also be classic arcade titles there for your enjoyment for the first time for you younger gamers, or for nostalgic purposes for us not so older gamers.  With roughly 20+ developers and games available you will find games geared towards all ages from basic color match games and mind puzzles, up to 2D platformers and beyond you will be entertained.  I would suggest if you have children and/or nieces and nephews this too might be a place to bring them to while you’re in town. download (1)                                       gamescape The fun doesn’t stop after ARTSCAPE ends at night, later you can ham it up with gamers and other lively folks featuring live performances of video game music.  The scheduling for this particular event is July 18th & 19th from 11am to 9pm and July 20th from 11am to 8pm.  Below is a list from the ARTSCAPE 2014    

Participants     University of Baltimore: Aaron Oldenberg Game: Student Work Current work from students and faculty in University of Baltimore’s Simulation and Digital Entertainment program, including senior capstone projects, Global Game Jam competition entries and faculty creative work.   CAVE Team: Jonathan Moriarty Game: CAVE CAVE is a 2D-platformer where the player has to manipulate their perspective on the environment in order to solve puzzles and progress through the cave.   BrinkBit: Bryan Bamford Game: Playing Favorites Playing Favorites was conceived around a campfire in September of 2013. The designers wanted to take the laughter and fun of a house party with best friends and capture that feeling in a mobile game.   Earthborn Interactive: Hadar Silverman Game: Flutter Bombs Flutter Bombs is part of a much larger project exploring physics based player control through the travels of a butterfly.   OriGamic: Shawn Pierre Game: Henka Twist Caper Henka Twist Caper: 1/2 twisting, 1/2 caper, 3/2 madness.  Twist your body.  Twist the controller.  Stay in the box.  Find the sweet spot.  Stop everyone else.   Critical Gameplay: Lindsay Grace Game: Black Like Me What are your color matching skills?  Black Like Me is a simple puzzle game. Match the color to win.  The longer you play, the more the colors look alike.  The game starts easy, but doesn’t stay that way.  This game is mesmerizing, simple and fun.  Can you really tell your colors apart, or in the end does everything just look black to you?   LelexSoft: Alejandro Rodriguez Game: Dungeon Dive Dungeon Dive is a dungeon-crawling game show in which players take on the role of contestants in pursuit of wealth, power and survival in a dungeon that is constantly changing, never providing the same experience twice.   Nice Nice Games: Alexander Grube Game: X-Zip-It This is a mobile game about unzipping zippers.  The game takes advantage of touch controls by having obstacles that require certain gestures to remove.  The goal of the game is to unzip the zippers as fast as possible on each stage and earn gold! Salokin Games:   Andrei Shulgach Game: Elite Force This is a survival game, but players can use a unique set of weapons to defeat the enemies that spawn each round.  Players can upgrade their abilities like in a standard survival shooter, but a few unique aspects like and make the experience more enjoyable and memorable.  The experiences in battle are carried over to the main menu where statistics are updated live on holograms.  All of this is to make the world and atmosphere feel authentic and exciting.   Seven Hills Games: Greg Aring Game: Battle Prism Designed around the theme “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are,” Battle Prism is a multiplayer battle and objective game where you can only interact with tiles and other players that are your color.  Players can switch between three colors (red, green, blue) strategically to navigate colorful, Tetris-like levels, escape and attack opponents, and score points in objective games (capture the flag, oddball, and more.).  Three dimensions of color make for interesting multiplayer interactions and adds a new element to the multiplayer arena battle genre.   Cameron Reigle: Game: Pizza Robot Rush “The genesis of Pizza Robot Rush was attempting to connect my studies of illustration with affection for the 16-bit games of the nineties.  I wanted to explore the unique visual elements that came to be out of crafting of games working under imposing technical restrictions, while also provide an interactive experience to the audience that would be allow them to be interested in what they were seeing, but could be played and quickly moved on from and talked about.  Hence, we have a brightly-colored game with a goofy narrative and sci-fi elements that involves a trio of misfit robots delivering Pizza as quickly as possible.”   UMBC Game Developers Club: Michael Lueng Game: Student Projects “Each year, our student run club produces 2-4 games after stages of pitching, prototyping, and voting.  We then form teams of artists and programmers from a variety of majors at UMBC, and build our games over the course of the year.  After the year ends, we look for opportunities to share our work with the community at events such as Gamescape, Magfest, and URCAD.”   Nice Nice Games: David Kim Game: Null X Void Null x Void is a 1D Fighter with the objective of trying to push your opponent off of the stage.  Contrary to other fighting games which involve two or even three dimensions of movement, Null x Void is restricted to only one dimension.  This forces players to either just push the opponent off the stage or to swap the opponent off the stage as they are getting pushed against.  Players will have the choice of choosing from multiple characters that each have their own unique ability, as well as multiple stages, each with their own twist, to spice things up in battle.   Jacob Fleisher: Game: The Adventures of Crocduck Crocduck is a 2D sidescroller in which you play as a half crocodile, half duck, who spits bees from his mouth, who fights hordes of ghosts, crabs, and clouds, controlled by an evil, sentient, space-faring fern. BatteryStaple GamesL Chris King Game: Echoes of Eridu Echoes is a love letter to Mega Man X, and remixes it with full multiplayer (local and online) and roguelike elements, including randomized level generation, powerups, enemies, and bosses.   Pie for Breakfast Studios: Chris Totten Game: Dead Man’s Trail “We created Dead Man’s Trail after a historical research survey of zombie media and literature.  We wanted to take elements of what makes zombies so terrifying and embody these elements in game mechanics in a survival game.  With DMT, players travel across the country while keeping their party of travelers happy and healthy.  These travelers each have a specialized job that aids the journey, so each is a valuable resource that must be preserved. Players may also loot towns in 3D dungeon crawling levels where they must get in and get out before a horde arrives.”   MABNanZ: Micah Betts Game: Combat Core Combat Core is a 3D arena fighting game that borrows elements from games like Power Stone, Custom Robo, and Super Smash Bros.  It focuses on multiplayer combat using customized fighters, weapon pickups, powerups, and environmental hazards.   Critical Gameplay: Lindsay Grace Game: You You is a game about play and the illusive pursuit of meaningful play.  Each level of the game is about problem solving a space for You to meet objectives while making sense of the in-game content.  Using the player character, You, the player is both making meaning out of nonsense and finding meaning where it is absent.  The game is designed as a light-hearted critical reflection on the intersection of narratology and ludology.   Mindtoggle: Lindsay Grace Games: Penguin Roll and My Child Knows Chinese Penguin Roll: A simple, kid friendly game where players must tilt their device to roll a penguin home. This game hit the top 100 ranking for Action and Arcade games in 3 countries on iOS.   My Child Knows Chinese: A collection of mini games and digital toys to teach toddlers (age 2-3) Mandarin Chinese.   11:11 Studio: Denver Coulson Games: SuperTrip and UDLR:Swipe SuperTrip: This game is not for the faint of heart.  This is for the adventurers, the go getters, and the true heroes of this world.  With SuperTrip, you and your friends will travel to locations you never thought were there.  You may even find hidden gems in your own hometown you’ve never noticed before!  The goal of the game is to reach all the destinations. You’ll choose how many waypoints you’d like to discover, how long of a game you’d like, and go!  You can race your friends or go as a group.  The mechanics of the game will push you a little out of your comfort zone as you travel through possibly the innards of a city or perhaps the backwoods of the country.  Even more, a sense of camaraderie will be built with your team as you share unique experiences that, before SuperTrip, never would have happened.   UDLR:Swipe is a a game focused on the satisfying feeling of swiping. Pixel Bomb Studios: Jonathan Pilley Games: Croq and Brain Blazer “Our approach to games relies heavily on making games that we enjoy developing and that we know gamers will enjoy playing.  We’re particularly focused on mobile at the moment, but expansion onto other platforms (such as Steam or consoles) certainly isn’t out of the question in the future.  Right now, we’re working as hard as we can to make the best games we can and would love to be part of an event such as Gamescape with like-minded and committed groups and individuals.   Starogre: Jon Schubbe Game: InterCubes Intercubes is an installation of suspended cubes and projected graphics, driven by live performance and audio-visuals.  The installation is interactive, and each player controls an arcade button that is connected to one of the three cubes, and plays a social, head-to-head version of Simon Says with a twist and more planned.   Curator  Ben Walsh Ben is the CEO and founder of Pure Bang Games.  Ben is also the founder of Gamescape, and co-founder of Innovate Baltimore, a community development organization aimed at connecting Creative Tech entrepreneurs with the people they need to build and grow their businesses.

Sound off if you will be going to Baltimore’s ARTSCAPE come July 18th-20th. If so, maybe you might bump into a couple of RealOtakuGamer.com staff while you are enjoying the city’s festivities!

E3 Microsoft

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This year Microsoft’s media briefing did not disappoint as Phil Spencer promised to devote the “entire briefing to games!”  Immediately, you could hear the applause around the theatre.  Last year, there was a lot of disappointment as Microsoft spent a lot of time talking about other features on the Xbox One like the Kinect and the TV features.  They seemed to learn from this mistake as they enthralled us all with game after game!

Further excitement came when Spencer stated that all the games shown during their media briefing would first get add-on content on the Xbox One!

The briefing began with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. We saw new footage that included gameplay.  I’m not a huge fan of the Call of Duty franchise, but I may just check this one out.  It also helps that Kevin Spacey is in the game. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be out on November 4, 2014.  Here is the gameplay that was showed:

Dan Greenwalt, Creative Director, came onto the stage to talk about Forza Motorsport 5 and unveiled the “nuburgring” which is available TODAY for free to those that own the game. Ralph Fulton, Creative Director, presented Forza Horizon 2 which will be available September 30, 2014.  The game will be in 1080p, have 200+ cars, include various weather conditions, and drivatars.

I’ve been highly anticipating with glee, Dragon Age: Inquisition.  Microsoft and BioWare unveiled a new trailer for the game, which will be available October 7, 2014.

Another game that garnered a lot of excitement from the masses is Sunset Overdrive. We saw a bit about this game last year, but this year we got to see a lot more of this game!  Ted Price, the Founder and CEO of Insomniac Games, came on stage to talk more about the game.  Sunset Overdrive will be available October 28, 2014 and  is exclusive to Xbox One.

Ori and the Blind Forest is a new IP from Moon Studios that looks absolutely stunning.  I’d love to see more of this game before it comes out this fall, but so far I like what I see.  Ori and the Blind Forest will be available Fall 2014.

A Microsoft briefing wouldn’t be the same without some Halo for us all! Bonnie Ross, Studio Head at 343 Industries, presented a spotlight on the much anticipated Halo 5:

Then we were presented with the Halo: The Master Chief Collection.  The collection will include Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4, Halo: Nightfall, and access to the Halo 5: Guardians Beta.  Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be out on November 11, 2014.

A very nice surprise to the mix was the Rise of the Tomb Raider world premiere! We will get to follow Lara Croft after the last installment to see how she rises from what she went through to become the character we know and love.  Rise of the Tomb Raider is expected to be available Holiday 2015.

Ken Lobb, Creative Director at Microsoft Studios, expressed his passion for reviving games that garner cult audiences as classic games.  He then presented Phantom Dust, an absolutely beautiful game.

Scalebound is a new IP that shows a lot of promise from Platinum Games.  This game is one of my favorites so far from what I’ve seen at E3. It is absolutely beautiful and I would love to see more

Microsoft wrapped up the media briefing with Crackdown.

Other games that were shown included Evolve, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Dance Central, Fantasia Music Evolved, Fable Legends, Project Spark, Inside from Playdead, The Witcher 3, and The Division.

I’m VERY impressed with Microsoft’s E3 Media Briefing. They brought it with the games and I even got a look at new games that definitely interest me.

To look at the rest of the trailers that were shown at Microsoft’s media briefing, check out their YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjBp_7RuDBUYbd1LegWEJ8g.

What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

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