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All posts by Barak Bullock
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April 24, 2016

Dark Souls 3 Review

Game: Dark Souls 3 Developer: FromSoftware Publisher: Bandai Namco Games Reviewed On: PS4 Price: $59.99

As fans and observers of the Dark Souls series know, Dark Souls games are not like other games. While the series consists of easily identifiable game design – things like a third-person camera, RPG stat-investment, inventory management, and large explorable areas – it also has an ineffable quality about it; a mixture of mystery, trepidation and awe that makes the Dark Souls games as harrowing as they are rewarding for those who take the plunge. This has what has propelled Dark Souls from an obscure exercise in masochism to a [...]

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December 31, 2015

Barak Bullock’s Game of the Year 2015

My choice for GOTY 2015 is not based on an informed sampling of the best this year had to offer. Because I delayed joining the next-gen world for close to two years, I didn’t get to play many of this year’s star-studded releases, including The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, Metal Gear Solid V or Batman: Arkham Knight. Like a scrappy wasteland survivor, I made do with my old Xbox 360 and its packed back-catalog that’s getting cheaper all the time. But right after Thanksgiving, I finally pulled the trigger on a next-gen console and have been enjoying it quite thoroughly. That enjoyment is (mostly) thanks to one game – the only game released in 2015 I can honestly say I’ve played. [...]

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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 22, 2015

Mass Effect Andromeda Gameplay Details Leaked

According to moderators at Reddit’s r/masseffect, an anonymous source with access to an early build of Mass Effect Andromeda – the forthcoming installment of Bioware’s famous space RPG series – contacted them and shared details of the early game’s gameplay features.

The moderators explained that the source wanted them to reveal the information for fear that it would be “dismissed as fake” if the source had posted it him or herself. The moderators then claimed they were not supplied with any materials from the game such as videos or photos, but insisted that their source “supplied proof” that they were indeed someone who had played an [...]

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November 20, 2015

Interview: ESA Reps Talk Start Democracy

After posting our recent analysis of Start Democracy – an online effort to register gamers to vote coordinated by the Video Game Voters Network (VGVN) – APGNation reached out to two representatives of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), Reed Albers (left) and Rich Taylor (right). We asked them about the origins, objectives and successes of Start Democracy, which you can read below.

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APGN: You and Mr. Taylor are representatives of the ESA. What are your roles within the ESA, and what is the ESA’s connection to the [...]

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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 4, 2015

Street Fighter V DLC Fighters Leaked

The identities of Capcom’s Street Fighter V’s six planned DLC characters have been confirmed by in-game sound files discovered by data-miners at Shoryuken.

WAV files of an announcer stating the characters’ names strongly suggest the six DLC characters are Balrog, Alex, Guile, Ibuki, Juri and Urien. Other sound files also include announcements of major fighting game tournament venues and host countries, such as “Final Round – USA,” “Stunfest – France” and “Mad Catz Tokyo Game Show – Japan,” and unlockable online ranks like “Rookie,” “Master” and “Hero.”

These files, discovered by forum-goers at Shoryuken, raise many [...]

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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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September 14, 2015

Which Presidential Candidate Stands With Gamers?

Is your favorite presidential candidate a gamer? Do they spend time courting the gamer vote? When will they introduce video games as part of their official policy platform to improve the United States? If you follow US politics, you might find those questions a little absurd, given the other pressing issues the country faces. How can celebrating games and gamers possibly be as important as climate change, political corruption, rising inequality or dozens of other serious concerns? The truth is, games can help solve some of America’s worst problems, and gamers hold the votes.

It’s no secret that games have gone mainstream, but the most recent demographic [...]

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