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January 27, 2016

Let’s Talk Xbox: Halo 5: Guardians Infinity’s Armor

If you are a Halo fan, I am sure by now you have heard about the upcoming update for January 2016, Infinity’s Armor. As promised, each month 343 Industries will be releasing a content update to coincide with the next month’s multiplayer season. Last update we got the much-anticipated Forge, new maps for Warzone and some tweaks to the Arena playlists, and in November we saw Halo 5’s take on Big Team Battles. Suffice to say the community divided on how these updates have turned out. Some like the increased complexity and control in Forge, others the move toward a more eSports-friendly and competitive Arena system, yet there are some who question the approach. They claim the [...]

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January 3, 2016

Is it Time For The Return of Fight Night?

For those who are into sports that involve punching people in the face, this past weekend was brilliant. We had the climactic UFC 194, in which Connor McGregor beat Jose Aldo in a record breaking 13 seconds. Over in my homeland of England, we had a great weekend of Boxing, with two different British Champions winning.  It is a brilliant era for contact sports, with stars like Connor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, Floyd Mayweather and Tyson Fury dominating headlines and popular culture. It is no surprise that the UFC games are incredibly popular, with UFC 2 set to release early next year. I’ve spent quite a lot of time playing UFC recently, and it got me wondering, where is Fight [...]

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December 31, 2015

Alasdair Fraser’s Game of The Year 2015

This year has been a wonderful one for gaming. While I haven’t managed to play as many titles to completion as I would have liked, I was still chuffed with 2015’s offering. Having made the switch from my ailing PC to the Xbox One, I was able to pick up some of the current crop of triple-A titles. As such I have decided to run through some of the games I enjoyed this year, followed by my runners up and then finally my game of the year.

So many great games came out near the end of this year, leading to a substantial backlog, and that doesn’t even include the plethora of games that Xbox have welcomed back into my living room with its Backwards [...]

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December 30, 2015

We Need Neptunia! And I’ll Tell You Why!

I’ll get this out of the way right now; I adore the Neptunia series. I’ve played every main series title, all three of the Re;Birth remake for the PS Vita, Hyper Devotion Noir, and have watched the 2013 anime -even if it wasn’t all that great- But why, you might be asking yourself?

The answer is simple; despite its many flaws, the reused enemies, textures, dungeons, and bosses, and even in the face of a difficulty curve best resembles a sidewinding snake, there is just something about the Neptunia universe that I find utterly appealing despite how much of a mess it is. Its characters are lovable, the art is nice, and I even laugh at all of the dumb anime and [...]

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December 1, 2015

Gamers Should Defend Educational Games

Though the educational potential of video games is well known, games have been integrated into formal education with varying degrees of success. Often students, especially those who are gamers, find the more “educational” games to be unstimulating or designed poorly. Still, educators and researchers are trying to fit games that impart important lessons into traditional schooling. One of these is a game called Climate Change Narrative Game Education, or CHANGE.

CHANGE is a game intended for high school Marine Science courses, which covers the effects of human-driven climate change on everything from oceans to geology and different [...]

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November 19, 2015

Start Democracy: The Gamer Vote in 2015

With the 2016 federal elections on the horizon, gamers are mobilizing to register themselves to vote through a new initiative by the Video Game Voter Network called “Start Democracy.” Launched on November 12th, Start Democracy is both a celebration of the VGVN’s registration of one million members to their online community and a renewed effort to prepare voting-aged gamers to head to the polls. In coordination with Rock The Vote, another prominent voter-registration organization, gamers and citizens can register to vote on VGVN’s website as part of its Start Democracy campaign.

Though the VGVN primarily identifies itself as a bulwark against legislation [...]

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November 2, 2015

Why The Debate Over Video Game Violence Is Over

Credit to SebastianvonBuchwald for this awesome Mario vs. Sonic piece!

For gamers, the debate over whether violent video games make players violent is as old as time itself. Many have probably heard this argument from their parents, teachers or the news. Every time the perpetrator of a horrible act is discovered to be a gamer, newspapers and pundits wonder if the killer’s taste in video games had anything to do with their actions. Over the course of decades, research on video game violence has pointed in both directions, some of it suggesting games do cause aggression while others suggest the opposite. So where does the [...]

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November 1, 2015

What We Learned From Dark Souls III’s Network Test

So everyone’s aware that Dark Souls III, the next installment of From Software’s highly lauded action-RPG series, is coming out early 2016 right? Though it may seem like an unbearable wait until then, March 24th for Japan (and some time in April for Europe and North America) is not as far as it seems. Even better, there have been numerous opportunities for players to get their hands on an early build of the game, including the recent Network Stress Test (NST), letting us see new and returning gameplay features.

As a returning Souls vet, here are some of my observations on Dark Souls III’s gameplay from the network test, and how it could pan out for the [...]

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October 28, 2015

Can We Give Bethesda and Ubisoft a Pat on The back Please?

This year has brought something new to the industry.  In the past twelve months, both Bethesda and Ubisoft had unveiled games and announced that their release will be within the same year. It is unusual to see this commitment to a release schedule, as well as the confidence in a product to reveal it so late into development. These days it is often common for developers to announce a new title two or so years in advance, very early into development. Watch Dogs is a perfect example. This title was revealed very early in development, and the end product ended up being pretty poor. There are countless examples of games being announced needlessly early to drive pre-orders and build hype. [...]

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October 27, 2015

SXSW Cancel #SavePoint and Level-Up Panels Citing “Numerous Threats of Violence”

Last week I covered the announcement of #SavePoint, a Gamergate panel discussing the gaming community at SXSW (South-by-South West). I expressing that I was cautiously optimistic about the discussion; in the same way I was encouraged by SPJ Airplay, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Gamergate ethics debate. The movement has experienced increased infighting, so this panel looked to provide a focus for this discussion.

Despite being name-dropped everywhere in the speciality press, Gamergate has, for the most part, been unable to have an open discussion of its grievances outside of the internet. Consequently, following yesterday’s cancelation of both the Gamergate panel [...]

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