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By Jonathan Balofsky On 28 May, 2017 At 11:45 PM | Categorized As News, News, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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NetherRealm Studios and WB Games have released a new trailer for Injustice 2. This time it is to show off the DLC character Red Hood.

 

Jason Todd once served as Batman’s second protégé “Robin” before being brutally murdered by The Joker. Years later, the powerful healing waters of the Lazarus Pit brought Jason Todd back to life. However the power of the pit comes at a cost, and a change takes hold in Jason. He now uses mantle of the Red Hood to wage a lethal war on crime.

 

 

 

We will have a review of Injustice 2 up very soon, so please look for that.

By Nate VanLindt On 28 May, 2017 At 04:24 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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13,925.  693, no platinum trophies.  5,906 XP – Level 29.  These numbers are meaningless out of context.  The fact is, they’re pretty much meaningless in context as well.  Chances are, you already know what I’m talking about if you’re reading this, but for the few that don’t, the above numbers are gamer scores and achievement statistics.  Specifically my personal gamer statistics.  I had to look them up because I had absolutely no idea what they were and I didn’t really care.  They are from Xbox Live, Playstation Network, and Steam respectively if you’re wondering.  That’s the point, however.   Why have people become obsessed with their personal statistics?

Gamerscores and stats started almost at the same time as gaming with the advent of the high score.  The very first high score was in Sea Wolf, way back in 1976.  Most games of the early gaming era featured scoring systems of one kind or another, whether it be the number of points scored in a Pong game or the points from the number of alien ships shot down in Galaga.  High scores stuck around until the mid to late 80s, when the NES reigned supreme and longer, more complex games at home became the standard.  Even then, many games still had score tabulation functions, whether they were the game scores in R.B.I. Baseball or a run n’ gun like Contra by Konami.   In other words, high scores have always been kicking around, but as gaming advanced, high scores slowly disappeared and became less meaningful, excluding a handful of genres like SHMUPS (SHoot eM UPS such as R-Type, Gradius, and Raiden for those who aren’t familiar with the term). 

But then, something odd happened in 2005.  Microsoft introduced achievements on the Xbox 360.  All of the sudden, every time you completed a specific set task in a game, you got a digital attaboy.  A little notification would pop up on screen and tell you you’d completed a task that you didn’t even know you were working towards and it added to what Microsoft calls your “gamerscore”.  Suddenly people were trying to have the best gamerscore, competing with their friends, doing things they’d never bother to do in a game before and spending lots of extra time in a game to do it.  Companies noticed this.  Nearly every game had achievements in short order.  In 2007, Valve added their version of gamerscores, badges, to Steam.  The next year, Sony added Trophies to the PlayStation Network as well.  Suddenly, everyone had a scoring system to track how much better (or worse) you were than everyone else you knew.  People bought into it.  Companies offered rewards for the highest gamerscore and Microsoft even gave away a lifetime membership to Xbox Live Gold in 2013 to the player with the highest gamerscore.  The entire concept had entered the collective consciousness of gamers and they have accepted it as a standard.

Should we be paying attention to our gamerscore and our trophy list, however?  Perhaps we should not.  In 2006, Gears of War was released for the Xbox 360.  It was one of the first games I played that had achievements.  I’d seen the achievement notifications pop up before, but I generally just tolerated them.   As I played Gears of War, I reached the end of a section and defeated the Berserker the first time, earning the trophy “My Love For You Is Like A Truck”, a reference to a fairly obscure song called Berserker by a band called Love Among Freaks.  Unfortunately, the trophy notification popped up prominently onscreen in the middle of a cinema sequence, blocking me from seeing the cinema fully and destroying my immersion in the game instantly.  On top of that, I couldn’t go back and see the cinema again without replaying that entire section of the game.  From that moment on, I was dead set against gamerscore in all its iterations.

In case you didn’t know, you can actually turn off achievement notifications on both Microsoft and Sony consoles.  On the Xbox One, it’s under Settings,  All Settings, Preferences, Notifications.   For the PS4, the option is under Settings, Notifications.  I did this as soon as the option became available on each network (as far as I know, it still isn’t available on Steam unfortunately) and I never looked back.  As a gamer for over 30 years, I ask you to consider it this way.  Games are designed to have fun.  They’re a form of escapist entertainment.   We generally play games to try and either finish them or get a high score.  But with achievements, we play through tedious grinding activities just to get an ephemeral payout of gamerscore so we can brag to friends and strangers.  That’s not only weird, it borders on pointless.  Take Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End for example.  I played Uncharted 4 right after it came out.  I blew through the game in my spare time (about a week).  The pacing is fantastic, the story moves just the right amount at a go, none of the gameplay holds you up too badly, but you still feel challenged.  It’s one of the most well-crafted games I’ve played in years in terms of pacing and structure.  I finished the game, had a blast, and came away fully satisfied with my experience.  I can’t speak highly enough of the game (keeping in mind that to enjoy it fully you must play the entire series in order).   Now, take a look at my personal trophies on the PS4 for Uncharted 4.

That’s right.  I got a measly 14 bronze trophies playing through a game that I raved about as one of the best games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.  A game that I just stated I was ‘fully satisfied’ with.  There are sixty-eight trophies in this game.  Sixty-eight!  Essentially, I didn’t ‘play the game’ according to the current thinking in gaming.  How could I possibly call myself a gamer?  Obviously, I don’t take gaming seriously enough, right?  Wrong.  Gaming is for fun, and I had fun playing Uncharted 4.  A lot of fun actually.  I don’t want to waste my limited free time finding 109 treasures that have no bearing on the story in my well-paced story-based game.  I am not interested in spending hours hanging from ropes to get the trophy for making 20 headshots while hanging from a rope.  And I certainly don’t want to buy an apple just to let the lemur steal it in chapter 11.  Because that’s not fun.  It’s tedious make-work in a game I’m playing for entertainment.  And achievements, trophies, and badges get much more ridiculous than that, up to and including repeating a specific activity or action thousands of times just to get that pop-up payoff.   Let’s call it what it really is, a Pavlovian response pattern that reinforces obsessive-compulsive tendencies in a mostly antisocial social sub-group.   In short, they are a prize with no value.

And yet there is a large and vocal demographic online that openly mocks anyone who dismisses the value of achievements.  Gamers often minimize the impact of these psychological tools, resorting to simplistic responses such as ‘if you don’t like them, just ignore them’, or ‘only people that suck at gaming hate trophies’.  Who is missing the point here?  Obviously, games are designed for both types of gamers now, the trophy hunters and the purists.  There’s no arguing that.  But are game designers themselves compromising their vision to provide a game that appeals to a wider audience due to the frothing demand for achievements?  It seems like they are.  Adding online content, online trophies, and various other extras to games that don’t really need them seem like pandering.  Some games force you to go online to get some of the achievements, necessitating play against others as well as paying for premium network access in the form of Xbox Live or Playstation Plus.  And gamers are falling for it.  In a recent discussion with a colleague, he informed me that he was replaying a game after finishing it so that he could “platinum” it because he loved the game so much.  When I asked him about the achievements though, he related that many of them were tedious and difficult to achieve.  After this discussion, I asked him about his game backlog and he admitted that he has games that he hasn’t even opened yet.  In other words, achievements are artificially inflating the average gameplay and dissuading gamers from moving on to the next title, regardless of the next game’s quality, even after they’ve finished a game and have stopped enjoying it.

It seems to me like this is an issue that gamers should actually take seriously.  Not because it matters whether you play for score, but because game developers take it seriously and they design games based on the trends of the market and the input they receive online.  The best games, the ones that everyone raves about for years or even decades, are the ones that provide an uncompromised creative vision.  These games are at the top of everyone’s list for a reason.  They were designed to enjoy, not to appeal to every single person, and that makes them rise above.  Too few of those games exist these days, and fewer are released every year.  Maybe if we focus a little less on finding every flag or using every weapon for a thousand headshots or revealing every single tenth of a percentage point of every single map and a little more on just immersing ourselves in the fun a game can provide, we’ll all get a bit more enjoyment out of gaming.   Try turning off your notifications for a game or two and see if you have more fun.  If you don’t know you’re missing out…maybe you aren’t.

 

Source 1  Source 2  Source 3  Source 4

By Jonathan Balofsky On 28 May, 2017 At 02:09 PM | Categorized As News, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Microsoft has released a new Killer Instinct trailer for the character Eagle. We only have a teaser now but it is likely Thunder’s brother will get his full trailer very soon.

Check it out below.

This is one character who looks different from the teaser alone. We are excited to see more,

By Sebastian Marco On 26 May, 2017 At 08:44 AM | Categorized As News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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This morning Ubisoft unveiled a new trailer for Far Cry 5, following the build up they’ve  been teasing all week long. This time around players are cast into Hope County, which is definitely a change of scenery considering this is the first game that takes place in the United States. Hopes County looks to give players new skies, rivers, woods and all that the Montana countryside has to offer. The main antagonist of FC5, Jospeh Seed and his fanatical cult followers will be challenging players in this new environment and push them and react to the choices made in the game.

 

Far Cry 5 is scheduled to release February 27, 2018. We hope to see more details and footage at E3.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 25 May, 2017 At 12:12 PM | Categorized As News, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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June is soon upon us and along with E3 this coming month, there will also be a new month of Xbox Live Games Wwith Gold.

 

In addition to the two Xbox One and two Xbox 360 games that can be play through Backward Compatibility, Xbox Live Gold members will also get free DLC for Phantom Dust in June.

Now for the games! On Xbox One we’ll have the competitive racing game Speedrunners available from June 1 – 30 followed by the open-world hacking adventure of Watch Dogs from June 16 – July 15. On Xbox 360, and on Xbox One through Backward Compatibility, explore the American frontier in Assassin’s Creed III from June 1 – 15 followed BioWare’s classic fantasy RPG Dragon Age: Origins on June 16 – 30.

All games will be available for a limited time only as part of Games with Gold, so get Xbox Live Gold today to get in on the action!

  • Speedrunners ($14.99 ERP): Available June 1-30 on Xbox One
  • Watch_Dogs ($29.99 ERP): Available June 16-July 15 on Xbox One
  • Assassin’s Creed III ($19.99 ERP): Available June 1-15 on Xbox 360 & Xbox One
  • Dragon Age: Origins ($14.99 ERP): Available June 16-30 on Xbox 360 & Xbox One
  • DLC for Phantom Dust ($14.99 ERP): Available June 1-30 on Xbox One

This is a very good month for Games With Gold, containing some truly amazing games to experience.  If you have not yet played these gems, now is the chance to experience some truly great gaming.  Microsoft is hitting it out of the park with Games With Gold lately and this is no exception.

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 17 May, 2017 At 01:53 PM | Categorized As News, PC Games, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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PC Gamer sent out the following

 

PC Gamer today announced that Xbox will join the upcoming annual PC Gaming Show for the third consecutive year, as both a sponsor and key presenter, and revealed more companies and speakers set to appear. Taking place in Los Angeles on Monday, June 12, 2017 at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, the show will feature appearances and announcements from some of the biggest brands in the PC gaming industry.
Leaders and renowned game developers from Xbox and streaming service, Beam will join the show to talk about their latest developments in PC gaming, as well as showcasing upcoming PC games.
Fans can expect news and updates about PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS from Bluehole Inc., BATTLETECH from Paradox Interactive in partnership with Harebrained Schemes, Total War: Warhammer II from Creative Assembly, and Raw Fury Games.
“PC gaming is a huge part of our gaming ecosystem – across Windows, Beam, and Xbox,” said Mike Nichols, Corporate Vice President of Xbox Marketing at Microsoft. “The PC Gaming Show is the perfect place for us to talk about what’s next from Xbox for PC gamers.”
For more information and to register for press or content creator access, please visit: www.PCGamingShow.com and follow #pcgamingshow. For consumers interested in attending the show, please visit: www.PCGamingShow.com/tickets. Viewers will be able to stream, the 2017 PC Gaming Show live on Beam.
The PC Gaming Show is powered by Intel and supported by partners Bohemia Interactive, Xbox, Cygames, Nexon, and Tripwire Interactive.

The PC Gaming Show is always a great part of E3. While it may not get as much recognition as the other conferences, it is still a noteworthy event. Will you be watching this year?

By Jonathan Balofsky On 20 Apr, 2017 At 11:28 AM | Categorized As News, News, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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WB Games and NetherRealm Studios have released the new story trailer for Injustice 2. This  explains the new threat of Braniac and why the alliances are shifting.  We get a good look at how Braniac plays and how he will affect everything.

Take a look below

We plant to have a review of Injustice 2 shortly after launch.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Apr, 2017 At 04:08 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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We will be getting a new look at Minecraft on the Switch this Tuesday. This is according to Minecraft’s executive producer

 

 

Are you planning on getting Minecraft on the Switch? Do you think there will be anything new that wasn’t in the Switch version? Let us know

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 10 Apr, 2017 At 08:52 AM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Bethesda sent out the following

 

We’re thrilled to announce that Bethesda will host a Free Play Week for The Elder Scrolls Online starting tomorrow and running all the way through April 18 across all platforms, including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac. That’s seven full days for players to adventure through Tamriel, build and grow characters, conquer Delves and Dolmens, and unravel another incredibly epic Elder Scrolls saga.

 

Maybe you’ve been reading about our enormous new Chapter, The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind, coming June 6 or you’ve heard about how players at Game Informer, MMORPG.com, and MassivelyOP.com all voted ESO the ‘Best MMO of 2016’ and wondered what you might be missing. This is the best  chance to find out for free and hone your skills before heading back to Vvardenfell in June.

 

The Free Play Weekend will include:

 

  • No Restrictions: Access to the full The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited base game. Go where you want, when you want, and with who you want in the massive open world and build your hero however you see fit.
  • 500 Free Crowns: Everyone receives 500 Crowns to spend in the Crown Store on fun costumes, unique pets, helpful scrolls, and more.
  • Progress Retention: Any characters created, Crown Packs purchased, or Crown Store items bought, as well as any progress made during the Free Play Week will carry over when you purchase the game.
  • Try and Buy … At a Discount: During the Free Play Week, you’ll enjoy a discounted price on either The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited (the base game) or The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Edition, which includes the base game as well as the four major DLC packs: Imperial City, Orsinium, Thieves Guild, and The Dark Brotherhood.

Whether you’re looking to quest online with your friends, or just want to head back to Tamriel by yourself for another epic Elder Scrolls adventure, ESO provides you the freedom and flexibility to play how you want to play.

 

How and When to Get into the Free Play Week

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam players can begin downloading tomorrow at 10am eastern.

 

Players should navigate to The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited on the PlayStation Store, the Xbox Store, or Steam and download the game. Once the game is downloaded and players have created an account, they can login and play immediately.

Source: PR Email

The Elder Scrolls Online is a truly unique MMO. It started out with a rocky launch but has truly come into its own as a worthy entry in The Elder Scrolls series. I fully recommend checking out this free play week. Now is the time to try it out if you were ever curious, or if the upcoming Morrowind expansion stoked your interest.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 6 Apr, 2017 At 12:16 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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NetherRealm Studios and WB Games have released the fourth story trailer for Injustice 2. This one gives us a lot more context on what will happen and the overall plot, while also showing off some characters and the new divisions. I just hope they aren’t showing too much, and leave some surprises because the story mode does look interesting. Injustice 2 looks like a much bigger version of the first game, and it is exciting to see it come together. We will have a review around launch time.