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PODCAST — Episode 41: April News Dump

Posted April 17th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

Podcast 41 - April News Dump

Time for a big ol' news dump of any items from early April that caught the boys' attention. Games and gadgets from PAX East to XBLA's Arcade Next, from Google to Facebook. Listen to the podcast as a stream or download, with timestamps after the jump.

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Tags: bloodforge, trials evolution, arcade next, google, lost planet 3, xbla, xblig, ios, draw something, popcap, solitaire blitz, megacity, 48 chambers, fable, fable heroes, minecraft, instagram, facebook, Mass Effect 3, BioWare, pax east, PAX, zeboyd games, on the rain-slick precipice of darkness, penny arcade, minecraft: xbox 360 edition, podcast

Posted in: Tech, News, Gaming, Entertainment

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REVIEW — Hidden in Plain Sight

Posted January 16th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

Hidden in Plain Sight

Long before I technically completed my tenure of childhood, I began to regret that I would not get to play enough Duck, Duck, Goose before I was too old to do so.  Grown-ups never trotted out the old game too often, and most of it is spent waiting for your turn—when it doesn't come, the feeling of lack carries over until the next chance to play.  Around eight or nine, I realized that it was possible I had already played my last round, and that next chance would never arrive. It remains one of the principal regrets of my life.

Duck, Duck, Goose isn't unique in this case; the myriad of childhood activities that I could see marked for death upon advancing teenagehood caused me more stress than I like to imagine children face regarding the evanescence of time.  Years before the imagined expiration date I had assigned them, activities like watching cartoons, playing with G.I. Joes, and climbing trees became what I can only term Childhood Guilty Pleasures. Like Nineteen Eighty-Four's  Winston Smith and his doomed covert meetings with Julia, I could not fully enjoy myself because of the inevitable, advancing wall of childhood oblivion.

To some degree, I empathize with LARPers who fail or refuse to make the choice to leave childhood behind, and I am thankful that my generation has laid somewhat of a bulwark against total Adultivity. I still watch cartoons, I don't hesitate to hop on the swings at a playground, and I play more videogames than my own children. Occasionally, I stumble upon one that plays to the sensibilities of those Childhood Guilty Pleasures. Adam Spragg's Hidden in Plain Sight is just such a game.

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Tags: xbox360, Indie, xblig, hidden in plain sight

Posted in: Reviews, Gaming

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The Thrill of the Chase

Posted November 23rd 2011 by J. Edison Thomas.

The local multiplayer videogame is a wheezing, dying beast.  The global online gamesphere has freed players from the cramped, fractured splitscreen of yesteryear, and for entire genres, there is no going back.  There have been resurgences, of course, centered around the Fresh New Thing of the day.  The advent of the Wii had families flailing and laughing together for the first time with a videogame console, and the rhythm game craze reinvented the college party for a few years of the late twenty-aughts.  But rhythm- and motion-based party games have consistently released to diminishing returns after their respective peaks.  Eventually, the Fresh New Thing isn't so fresh, or new, and these spikes settle down.  Try as they might, with each new Mario Party release it becomes less and less likely that Nintendo will be able to recapture the magic that they bottled nearly two generations ago.  So games return to their shelves, and gamers return to single-player or online games until the next big thing brings them back together.

After industry giants beat the motion and rhythm genres into the ground like so many dead horses, it may be apropos that the latest Fresh New Thing was born from the indie gaming scene.  This is, after all, where creativity is still the dominant currency, as opposed to, well, the actual currency that fuels the corporate videogame machine.  A clever idea with straightforward controls and presentation is the best that indie developers can hope for, and that perfectly describes DoubleDutch Games' Speedrunner HD.

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Tags: Xbox 360, doubledutch games, multiplayer, xblig, xbox live indie games, Indie, speedrunner hd, Microsoft

Posted in: Gaming, Features

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