Are you a clinical nerd? In case you’ve never heard this term before, a clinical nerd is someone who loves video games and other geeky things, but also enjoys the world of medicine. You might be studying for a medical profession or maybe you already work in one. These two passions don’t often go together, though. The world of medicine is grounded in science, and rarely crosses over into the fictional world. [Read more…]
I own a lot of games. The odd thing is that I tend to not have the time to play them. I have a strong feeling that Tokyo 42 is going to break that pathetic habit of mine.
Tokyo 42 is an open world top down zoom-in-and-out top-down isometric shooter with hints of a few games you’ve played before, but with a look and feel that mixes retro 8-bit magic with modern Matrix level action aesthetics. It also just happens to have at least one cat.
Developed by SMAC and presented by Mode 7, Tokyo 42 gives you both single player and multiplayer modes the ability to rotate your view of the game any way you like, letting you unleash fury on your enemies or sneak stealthily through your mission. Just watching this pre-alpha demo with its floating vehicles, brightly colored buildings, unsuspecting crowds of collateral damage (I mean NPC Tokyo 42 citizens, some even doing rooftop yoga, if you look closely at one point), and its electro-trippy soundtrack makes me happy. I’d settle for just watching someone play the game as much as playing it myself. This better get a huge Twitch following when its released in 2017.
Here’s hoping we get a peek at it during E3 Expo 2016 somewhere on the floor.
It’s 7:45pm. I just got home from work.
I put my leftover spaghetti in the microwave and head to my closet-size bedroom to grab my laptop (disclaimer: I live in NYC where you’re lucky if you can get a 100-square-foot bedroom). I curl up on the couch outside my room with my laptop in hand and surf away to find players for a raid in The Secret World.
Tick tock…tick tock.
And so it goes, two hours later, I’m frustrated by the time wasted surfing the net filling out LFG requests on multiple forums, I give up. Netflix seems like a more productive use of my time…
Why, create an awesomely ginormous Pikachu mosaic, of course!
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Pokémon, UK artist Quentin Devine used 12,987 cards to make a giant Pikachu mosaic that will overshadow every other mosaic out there (perhaps). The mosaic measures in at 10 metres tall and 7 metres wide and was revealed in Paris earlier this week. [Read more…]
One thing about being gamers is, we tend to be a bit sadistic at certain points in games. By sadistic I mean, we find great amusement out of either inflicting great pain or causing massive amounts of destruction and chaos. I truly believers gamers lean towards those actions in games because it is the last thing most of us would do in real life, so it is kinda fun to get to see how psychos and sociopaths live for a little while. And what is even better is, most game publishers seem like they WANT people to play some of their games sadistically, so they set up special spots and occasions for just such atrocities.
Here are 5 oddly sadistic (and weirdly satisfying) moments and action from gaming.
There’s no doubt that Disney Infinity is a fun, engaging game for kids and adults of all ages. And it’s easy to get sucked into hours, days, or even weeks of nonstop world building and mission accomplishing fun with nearly a hundred characters available to place on the Disney Infinity platform. They might have not been the first to create a sprawling, epic toy/gaming hybrid, but it doesn’t matter much when you have some of the most beloved and fun characters in the world to fill out your roster.
When I first discovered Disney Infinity, I didn’t know what to make of it. At San Diego Comic-Con a few years ago, I sat down with Vice President of Production and lead Disney Infinity fan ambassador, Jon Vignocchi, and he walked me through the basics of the Toy Box and a few of the new missions featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy. It was instantly fun, even if I’m not much of a console gamer. But that wasn’t what initially drew me to the game. It was the figures. I’m an old school collector going back a few more decades than I’m willing to admit at the moment, mostly when it came to Star Wars toys. So when I asked Jon what the next year might have in store now that Marvel was dominating the platform and Star Wars now fell under the Disney umbrella: Would we be getting Star Wars Disney Infinity figures? He could only smile and chuckle aloud, with no clear answer. But I knew. How could they pass up the opportunity? Either way, I was hooked.
Over the following months, I would grab a few random figures that caught my eye, even though I had not picked up the game itself, simply because they looked amazing. Flat colors over dynamic poses that imbued characters with a real attitude, even though they couldn’t be posed like regular action figures. These were essentially mini statues of my favorite characters. And I felt like I had the beginnings of a new collecting addiction in my hands every time I walked out of the store with one or two of them in my bag. It didn’t help that Best Buy, Amazon, Target, or Toys R Us were holding sales nearly every week, especially since last fall leading up to the holidays, when my resolve finally broke. An exclusive Boba Fett available only in the Playstation editions of the playset. I now had to have every Disney Infinity figure ever made. And now, as of the latest release of figures in March 2016, I finally have them all. Every single one. To pick a favorite is tough. To pick 10 favorites is only marginally easier, but here’s my list of the best dang Disney Infinity figures available at this moment. And in case you’re wondering, I’m not taking into account their in-game abilities or coolness factor. This list is based simply on the character and how its presented through its unique sculpt in no particular order.
Donald Duck (Disney) – This was actually the very first Disney Infinity figure I ever bought. Donald was always my favorite Disney character when I was a kid and it only seemed right to make him the cornerstone of my collection, simply because he’s PERFECT! The attitude of this beloved character drips from every inch of him. The eyes, the folded arms, the slightest tilt of his head. This is probably the coolest Donald Duck has ever looked, because he’s usually seen screaming his head off at Goofy or somebody when things don’t go his way. Whether you agree with me or not (he’s far from the most popular character and it’s quite easy to find him on clearance in most stores), this guy is a troublemaker and is right at home in the wacky world of Disney Infinity.
Black Panther (Marvel) – Outside of the trailers for Captain America: Civil War, we haven’t seen much of anything out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest hero, but if his Disney Infinity figure is any indication, he’s going kick some major butt. The traditional costume from the comics isn’t as accented and is usually fully black with subtle details, but its the gray highlights trimming his gloves, boots, and all over his mask that makes the Black Panther stand out from the latest release of figures, tying in with the Marvel Battlegrounds playset (see video above).
Ahsoka Tano (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) – I’m probably going to use the word “attitude” a lot in these descriptions, I think, so bear with me. It’s what these sculpts were meant to evoke. She may not be an OG Star Wars character beloved by all, but Ahsoka is all sorts of badassery with this pose. The lightsabers aren’t pointed forward, ready for battle. No, she’s got them locked in behind her with a tilt to her head that says, “I’ve got this.” It doesn’t matter who she’s going up against, you believe her.
Hulkbuster (Marvel) – Disney Infinity has a number of BIG figures in their collection (Hulk, Venom, Baymax), but this one has some heft to it. And its by no means a simple sculpt. This is Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor taken to the next level. It’s bulky, it’s complex, and it’s ready for a fight. I could spend an hour or two pouring over every nook and cranny, every subtle coloring and shadow from its head to its feet. I want to press a button and have it disassemble to show a little Tony Stark inside, but I know it’s just an amazing little statue that will give me half a chance against the Hulk in a fight when set down on the pad. But that won’t make me moon over it any less. It’s a thing of beauty.
Anger (Pixar’s Inside Out) – You can almost hear Lewis Black screaming at you every time you glance his direction. The only thing missing is the flames shooting out the top of his head, but at least he, like all of the other Inside Out characters in this Disney Infinity set, has his red tinted memory crystal at his feet, which is a nice little touch.
Boba Fett (Star Wars) – The Star Wars character that finally got me to hunt down every single Disney Infinity figure. It helped that the heavily discounted set also included Ahsoka, Anakin, Luke, and Leia as well, along with a number of playsets, but it’s the exclusive I couldn’t pass up. The level of detail and color on this character is astonishing. It makes me feel sad for those who had to wait until March 2016 to get a hold of him.
Loki (Marvel) – Loki’s such a jerk. And he wouldn’t deny that. And while I’m sure the temptation was strong to make him look like a tiny, sexy Tom Hiddleston for the fans, this incarnation looks a lot more like the comic version of the character, with the impossibly loopy horned helmet and flowing cape. He’s ready to mess up someone’s day. Anyone except the lucky person who plops him into their Disney Infinity game.
Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey crystal Toys R Us exclusive (Disney) – I wasn’t sure if I was going to pick this one from the Toys R Us exclusive crystal variant collection, but he worked his magic on me. It’s the type of figure you want to surround with tiny, colored LED lights and a smoke machine churning out the Fantasmic beauty. And with that stubborn pose, you still get the idea that this apprentice doesn’t yet know how in over his head he’s going to be in a few minutes.
Kylo Ren (Star Wars) – This was a hard one. I wanted to represent The Force Awakens in this list, but all of the characters are so good, it was nearly impossible to choose. But in the end it was Kylo’s defiant pose and that wild, crackly red lightsaber that set him above the others. Had Rey been allowed to hold a lightsaber in her figure as she did in the film, I would have chosen her, because her figure is nearly as cute and dangerous as the real Daisy Ridley.
Merida (Pixar’s Brave) – The hair. Those CURLS! Sure, I loved the movie and the character, but there’s something about trying to capture that girl’s insanely animated wild curls in toy form and whoever sculpted this NAILED IT! I look at her and I can immediately see her in a windswept forest, ready to take on whatever comes her way, even if its just dinner for the family. Merida was probably my second Disney Infinity figure and worth every cent. Even if I had stopped there with her and Donald, never tempting myself with grabbing a Marvel character, which were all new, selling at full price, and in heavy demand at the time, I would have walked away from Disney Infinity happy. But that was never going to happen. Merida was my gateway drug.
Vision (Marvel) – Vision is another character from the latest lineup of Marvel figures that isn’t an exact replica of his comic counterpart, but instead leans more toward his Age of Ultron film incarnation. And that’s alright by me. The colors shouldn’t work, but they do. It’s because they aren’t done cheap and shiny over cheap hollow feeling plastic. And with his hand outstretched to fly and the other pulled back, ready to strike, you’re not sure what he’s going to do. And I like that.
Darth Maul (Star Wars) – A character so underrepresented in the movie he appeared in has had no shortage of merchandise and action figures made out of his likeness. But this is probably the best he’s ever looked. Flowing cloak, those pointy bones poking out of his head, that FACE! He’s ready for a fight at all times. I don’t need to pose him any other way. This is how he was meant to be seen. If I was 10 years old, I would have ripped him out of the package and slammed him onto the platform so fast I would have broken it. But I’m an adult and I know how to take care of my toys.
Yeah, I missed a lot of great figures. Nobody from Guardians of the Galaxy? Or the Incredibles? What about the various princesses? And c’mon, nearly everyone in the Star Wars line is dead on perfect, especially Chewie. If I was making a list of the top (almost) 100 Disney Infinity figures, they would have all made the list, obviously. I stand by and regret each of my decisions already. I could have rambled on with tireless joy about each one of the figures, but nobody has that much time on their hands.
What do you think? Have any favorites of your own? Are there any figures you’re hoping they add to the mix in the coming months? My votes are for Doctor Strange, Frozone, Hera and Captain Rex from Star Wars Rebels (to fill out the cast), and BB-8, R2-D2, and C-3PO. Feel free to share your wish list in the comments below.
All images © Disney
As we get closer and closer to No Man’s Sky coming out for the PS4, the schools of fans seem evenly divided. On one hand, you have the people who think No Man’s Sky is going to be the true, open space sim we always wanted. While others seem to think it is just going to end up being a larger version of Minecraft (which is no insult, by the way). So what way will this game go? Will it be the game we always wanted that allows us to explore the farthest reaches of this massive universe? Or will it be “resource collecting” made even more massive?
Here are some of our hopes and fears about No Man’s Sky.
Gaming for hours on end is certainly a lot of fun, but in the eyes of the rest of the world it’s not necessarily an appealing way to spend your time. If you’re tired of getting that judgmental look every time you tell someone you spent the evening playing video games, maybe you should turn your hobby into a way to help a charity!
Organizations That Give Gamers Hero Status
Many organizations have poured time and effort into gaming for charity. You can be the hero in both the game and in real life just by getting involved. Here are some of the primary groups devoted to this excellent activity.
Extra Life: In an effort to raise money for hospitals in the Children’s Miracle Network, this group hosts regular events in which gamers unite to compete in a 24-hour gaming marathon. Each gamer brings a donation, and spectators contribute as well, which could result in a healthy total in donations credited to you.
Games Done Quick: This company that speeds up the playing time of games holds events throughout the year, often collecting donations for an entire week as various gamers cycle through to play 24/7. Recently, the firm raised more than $1.2 million for Doctors Without Borders, which anyone would agree is a worthy cause.
The AbleGamers Foundation: This organization is devoted to making life a little easier and more rewarding for people with disabilities. The members seek to find ways to make gaming more accessible to the disabled, and they host 24-hour live play events to raise money for this cause.
St. Jude Play Live: Whether they play solo or in teams, gamers donate according to their playing time during a 24-hour gaming marathon. The longer they play, the more they donate for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
#SmashTheRecord: This event began when renowned player Jason “Gahtzu” Diehl broke the world record for the “Longest Video Games Marathon Playing a Fighting Game.” He played for 72 hours straight! During the event, he raised $14,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This has become its own annual event since then; in 2015, players raised $50,627 for St. Jude.
HumbleBundle: If you’re not a gamer who’s into 24-hour marathons, this digital store is set up so you can donate to charity every time you purchase a game. For every purchase made, 10 percent goes to charity.
How You Can Get Involved
These kinds of events happen all the time. If you’re interested in getting involved, it’s not difficult to contact one of the above organizations to find out when the next events are happening and if there are any new events near you.
You could also take the initiative and begin a gaming-for-charity event on your own. With the right advertising, a group of friends, and a charity crowdfunding account, you and the other gamers in your community can enjoy an all-night event while helping out a great cause of your choosing.
There’s nothing that beats the feeling of knowing you’ve helped someone else by doing something you love. With every donation made for charity, you’ll find yourself leveling up to full-blown hero status.
Are you sick of limiting your music gaming to just the consoles in your living room? Well, Harmonix is working on a way to bring Rock Band 4 to your PC. They’re expecting to develop the game via the crowdfunding site Fig, which helped raise more than $3 million for Double Fine to create a sequel to Psychonauts. But they won’t be developing it alone. They’ve partnered with Sumo Digital to port the game while Harmonix continues to build up on the foundation they’ve already created with Rock Band 4 on the Xbox One and PS4. While they contribute $500,000, the diehard Rock Band fans will hopefully contribute $1.5 million toward the project, giving them a chance to get their hands on all sorts of exclusive swag or even become an investor in the project.
With the already innovative freeform guitar solos and vocal features, Rock Band 4 for PC will encourage the highly active modding community to create their own songs to share and/or sell within the game community network. But I’ll let Harmonix co-founder Alex Rigopulos and Rock Band 4 designer Matthew Nordhaus explain all the fine details to you.
If they can get the funds they need by early April, expect to see Rock Band 4 on PCs around the world by fall 2016.
The topic of vigilantes always causes a division. On one hand, their methods are extreme and outside the law. On the other, they simply get the job done and produce results. While the subject of vigilantism will be explored in-depth with the forthcoming release of Captain America: Civil War, it seems one person in the gaming world has been inspired and taken matters into their own hands.
Long-time Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player and Reddit user AndroidL had clearly seen too much in-game cheating by other players and decided to put an end to it. The vigilant gamer designed several hacks for CSGO, which would enable users god-like powers, such as infinite health, unlimited ammo, and the ability to essentially see around corners. Of course, AndroidL knew full well that anyone who downloaded these hacks would be instantly detected by CSGO’s developer Valve and their Anti Cheat system. This mass-download by more than 3,000 users was instantly picked up and resulted in permanent bans for the cheaters.
AndroidL even discussed the exploits on a Reddit thread, stating that, “I’m incredibly humbled by the community’s response, thank you everyone for your kind words. I’ll look into doing this sort of thing again. Please stop gilding me, I do not need Reddit gold. Instead, donate to a charity and send me a screenshot and I’ll post it here.”
In an effort to keep gaming in an honest and purely skill-based arena, AndroidL’s actions have proven that people will do whatever it takes to win. However, just like some of the world’s top athletes succumb to performance enhancing drugs (Lance Armstrong, Tyson Gay, Marion Jones, to name a few), top gamers in the virtual world are apparently no different. In 2014, it was revealed that many professional CSGO players were found to be using third-party tools to assist with aiming in major tournaments. One of the highest-profile findings was Hovik Tovmassian, a.k.a KQLY. Tovmassian played for Titan, one of the major teams playing CSGO for a living. “I wanted to say that I’m really sorry for all the people who supported me. I’m aware that with this bull****, my career is over and that my team is in a really bad situation,” said Tovmassian in a statement.
And don’t think this event is taking place in an internet café across town; the CSGO tournament is held in major arenas across the world. Cologne in Germany set to host one in July – with $250,000 as the prize money.
While many users revert to building their own gaming servers using services like this one – a move that allows gaming leagues to be set up with your friends or those you trust – the crackdown on cheaters is a huge step in the right direction for gaming in general. As AndroidL displayed, if you play with fire, you’re going to get burned. Even if all cheaters can’t be found, it’s nice to know someone is out there patrolling the virtual streets.