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Joystiq is closing and I'll miss them like hell

By Msirae Faythung - 6 hours ago


The death of a gaming news website is a terrible thing.

It weakens the video game industry. It weakens video game journalism in what are still important, formative times. It hurts gamers and, of course, those talented writers who write about games.

Every time a gaming website downsizes, every time a bean-counter closes a home to gaming journalism, we all lose a little.

Joystiq's closure is by no means the first of its kind; news of sites shutting down, downsizing, staff moving have been at a steady beat for years now.

But this particular closure is important. Important, perhaps if only because it is a good time to reflect on just how far game journalism has come.

In 2004, the landscape of gaming websites was mostly monopolized by large, corporate-owned entities. They did great work, but the lack of diverse competition led to a sort of homogenization of news that was bad for everyone in the long run.

Enter Weblogs' Joystiq and Gawker's Kotaku: two sites that sprang from inspired leadership, an interest in telling the rest of the story and the desire to upend the seemingly singular face of coverage in the space.

Joystiq was officially launched in June of 2004, Kotaku months later.

The launch of either site would have been a big, important step in the shake-up of gaming coverage that was to come, but launching together they both had to compete with huge, well-established sites and each other. It was underdog versus underdog and it kept both sites on their toes.

I was fortunate enough to help usher Kotaku through its first seven years, helping it grow from a site with a singular voice (mine) to a chorus of opinion, news and features. Eventually, I handed that responsibility off to the talented Stephen Totilo, who remains in charge of the site today.

Over my tenure with the site I had a front row view of the changing landscape of game journalism and to the work of my and Kotaku's biggest rival: Joystiq.

Viewed from outside, game journalism, all journalism, must at times look like a nest of snakes: A collection of writers and reporters trying to make names for themselves at any cost, whether it's a cost they pay, their friends pay, or their competition pays.

But that's not the reality.

The reality is that, as with any profession (and game journalism is exactly that) there is also a sense of camaraderie and respect, even if it is at times begrudgingly given.

And so it was with Kotaku and Joystiq.

Sure, Kotaku fought to beat Joystiq and I'm sure the opposite was true, but we did so more for the credit of our readers than our own bylines (heck, Kotaku didn't have bylines for years.)

When it came down to it. When something became bigger than either site, we stood up for one another.

In 2008, when CheapAssGamer kicked off a contest asking its followers to create fake news for other sites to run as real, I fell for it in a big way. I quickly corrected the mistake once I realized (and admittedly handled that correction and response to CAG very poorly) and then set about alerting every other site so they wouldn't fall for it too. Yes, including Joystiq.

When Sony decided to blackball Kotaku after we reported a factual, but anonymously sourced story, I wasn't the one that got the international conglomerate to back down, sites like Joystiq and others were. They all publicly rushed to back up Kotaku's play. They didn't do this out of love for Kotaku, but because it was an important thing to stand up for.

Game journalism, when approached honestly, is always an important thing to stand up for. That's because it is journalism. When done right, you can take the game out of journalism, but not the journalism out of game in this field.

And journalists, to some degree, must stand together, not to create blacklists or a singular face, but to ensure survival. In journalism, independence needs company.

Game journalism is a profession that at times hinges on telling people bad news, what they don't want to hear, essentially being the messenger that everyone wants to kill. And then expecting those same upset people to support them.

It's a tricky line to walk and anyone, any site that can do it for as long as Joystiq, doesn't deserve just accolades, it deserves to survive.

Joystiq was always there when Kotaku was. They were the Dallas Morning News to our Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Denver Post to our Rocky Mountain News. It was the hard work of its staff that inspired us when we were worn to the bone, or dragged down by petty commenting. Having a bar constantly lifted by our competition always helped give us something to strive to achieve.

We respected Joystiq and its staff. Fought them tooth and nail. Worked to match or beat every story they ran. And I know I'm going to miss them like hell when they're gone.

I'd argue to keep the site afloat, say that this isn't the way a strong voice in the gaming community should die. But it's too late for all of that.

It's too late for anything but goodbyes.

So let me say now what I've always thought:

Without a strong Joystiq, there never would have been a Kotaku, there certainly would never have been a Polygon.

Without those fantastic reporters and writers and the amazing editorial leadership, the blogging revolution may have never come to gaming.

So a moment of silence then, not just for Joystiq, but for all of the sites that seem to be shrinking or dying. A moment to reflect on what would have been had not Joystiq helped usher in this age of gaming and coverage.

Taken from Polygon.

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oKey BX time to picK a side: Scorpion or Sub Zero?

By CadillacVyse - 6 hours ago

Now that the new Mortal Kombat is coming, I'm hyped and want to know which of this rivals, the board prefers.

I'll Keep it short and sweet, which one is your favorite? Why and what's your favorite version of him?

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Video inside Hatred starts pre-orders with a new trailer

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Destructive Creations studio announces the start of pre-order sale for Hatred - the game that divided gaming industry and started a loud discussion among gaming and mainstream journalists about the limits of creative freedom.

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Image inside #IDARB Now Free on Xbox

By xFMx ALCHEMiST - 7 hours ago

It's in the "Games with Gold" Featured Section

the multiplayer is dumb tho, need local players to do more than 1v1 online
should update it

Read 17 comments »

Life Is Strange Episode 1: Chrysalis Official Discussion/Review Thread

By Msirae Faythung - 7 hours ago

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Platforms: Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: January 30

GameSpot - 7

Life is Strange sets the stage for later conflict, foreshadowing the storm to come and informing you of a young local woman gone missing. At the same time, the game makes everyone look like a guilty party. The rich frat boy with a gun, the smug school administrator, the stepdad in need of anger management skills--these and other characters have plenty to hide, though it’s impossible to guess what all their secrets might be. The looming tornado and the inconsistent time mechanic seem almost unnecessary as a result, for Life is Strange’s most important drama is the one developing in Max’s own mind.

The Good
  • Story and setting capture the essence of early adulthood
  • Social tensions make for meaningful choices
  • Natural voice acting

The Bad
  • Rewind mechanic diminishes story's impact

Polygon - 8

I admire its courage and I enjoyed playing it. I want to go back for more. It's aimed for an indie-movie meets teen-TV aesthetic, but even while it sometimes misses the mark, it's still a novel and fresh experience. And, at the end of this first episode, I enjoyed the world and I liked the characters enough to want to come back for more.

Metro - 8

We’ve not only no idea where Life Is Strange’s story is going, but we’ve also no idea whether it’s going to maintain its current slow burn approach. For all we know next episode it’s going to descend into Quantic Dream style inanity, but at the moment it’s as successful a piece of character building as we’ve ever seen from a video game. And as such it’s more than just David Cage that should be taking note.

Destructoid - 8.5

It was a slow, yet well-paced initial chapter that set the table more than anything else. There's no telling where the story will go from here. But, as Chrysalis faded out, an indie song played that felt wonderfully at home in this setting, and served as a warning of things to come. It chanted "We will foresee obstacles, through the blizzard, through the blizzard."

Gameinformer - 8.5

The next episode will surely define what Dontnod is out to accomplish, but Life is Strange’s introduction is a good look at the characters and dilemmas. It did its job of getting me interested. I have some minor concerns about how original the subject matter will turn out to be, but the focus on realistic problems is refreshing and the care put into Maxine’s world and the relationship-building holds plenty of promise.

TrustedReviews - 8

If you are a fan of point-and-click adventures (or those Fighting Fantasy books from yesteryear) and a sucker for an intriguing, atmospheric yarn you’ll be right at home here. In fact, it may be just the sort of entertainment you’re looking for if you’re between TV shows.

HardcoreGamer - 4.5/5

It’s very tempting to dismiss Life is Strange out of hand as the same pretentious pabulum that it emulates, but the affectations of hipster cinema prove essential to its narrative goals. DONTNOD’s sophomore effort aims to capture the voice of today’s youth, and outside of a few heavy-handed moments it succeeds. Anyone who went through high school in the last decade is likely to find themselves overcome with nostalgia as they play. Few games – hell, few films – are so genuine and earnest in their execution, and few first episodes of anything are so effective in leaving you wanting more.

GameRevolution - 4/5

Life Is Strange offers a fresh take on video game storytelling, presenting the typically loaded concept of time travel in a more naturalistic light and exploring the labyrinthine choices of an unlikely everyday hero. Hopefully in future episodes, Max will mature into a more confident teenager as she learns to navigate through time and against the blurred lines between truth and perception. Although the poor lip-syncing diminishes the impact of the dialogue and several hackneyed characters blemish the overall story, the first episode of Life Is Strange is easily worth its five-dollar price tag and positions Dontnod Entertainment as one developer to watch out for this year.

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Image inside Here's All The MLB 15: The Show Improvements

By Pleasure Boy - 1 day ago

MLB The Show developer Sony San Diego on Thursday published a detailed blog post that reveals the many new features and improvements coming to the upcoming pro baseball game MLB 15: The Show.

First, MLB 15: The Show will include year-to-year saves, meaning anyone who bought MLB 14: The Show will be able to continue their Franchise and Road to the Show progress in the new game.

The long list of improvements includes other things like real-time season sun and shadows, a new slide and tag system, a new directional hitting interface, and the introduction of licensed equipment for the first time.

Below you'll find a summary of the new gameplay features and improvements, courtesy of Sony, while you can also check out this blog post to see every last change.

MLB 15: The Show, which features Los Angeles Dodges slugger Yasiel Puig on its cover, launches March 31 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita. Sony will release the first gameplay during a Twitch live-stream on February 5 starting at 2 PM PDT.

Gameplay Improvements

(PS4 & PS3 Only)
  • Advanced AI logic results in outfielders taking more realistic routes to the ball
  • Upgraded motion system allows for dynamic speed matching from run to catch to throw
  • User controlled cut offs
  • All new slide and tag system
  • New speed paradigm for fielders and base runners
  • Enhanced ball physics for pop ups, fly balls, and shots into the gap
  • Dynamic pitch breaks: allows for more realistic pitch recognition when batting
  • Simplified Analog swing controls
  • Dynamic Difficulty 2.0
  • New situational base covering intelligence allows for new animations to play when a player has time or is in a hurry to get to his base
  • More than 70 new situational third out fielding animations
  • New Input Type option for hitting
  • We've separated swing input as a separate option

Licensed Equipment

(PS4 & PS3 Only)
  • For the first time ever MLB The Show will include licensed equipment from some of the most recognizable brands in baseball. Earn as you play to enhance your RTTS or Diamond Dynasty players and partner with iconic brands by bringing sponsorships to your Franchise team!

(Equipment on PS3 version is not seen during gameplay.)

Graphical Improvements

(PS4 Only)
  • Real-time seasonal sun and shadows
  • Player Skin tone realism. More variations of skin tones with gloss and specular improvements
  • Revamped night lighting
  • More accurate and photorealistic rendering system
  • PS4 gets 10 more Minor League stadiums

Franchise Mode Refresh

(PS4, PS3, PS Vita)
  • With the addition of General Manager Contracts, you now have to consider Ownership Expectations when running your team, and your performance will determine the job offers that come your way. Building a championship-caliber team is more fun and dynamic than ever before, with the new Performance-based Player Progression, as well as much improved Trade and Contract logic. Partner up with Brand Sponsors, giving your broadcast elements an official sponsor and earn some extra dough to spend on your team.

Directional Hitting Interface

(PS4, PS3, PS Vita)
  • Featured for the first time in MLB 15 The Show is the new Directional Hitting interface, which allows you to influence the direction of your hits in real-time while you swing. Using the L-Stick, you can attempt to influence fly balls, ground balls, pushed hits, pulled hits, or any of those in combination.

Universal Rewards

(PS4 & PS3 Only)
  • Virtual Baseball cards to be collected and easily assembled into a competitive Diamond Dynasty team
  • Licensed Bats, Gloves, Batting Gloves, and Cleats that enhance your Road to the Show or Diamond Dynasty playersÂ’ abilities
  • Brand Sponsorships for your Franchise team that spice up your in-game interface and earn your team some extra income
  • Collect entire teams to unlock MLB legendary alumni players from each MLB team


(PS4, PS3, PS Vita)

We partnered with the MLB Player's Alumni Association to make a total of 30 Legends playable in MLB 15 The Show. Collect an entire MLB team, and youÂ’ll unlock an iconic alumni player from that team. ThereÂ’s one from each team, and though you'll have to find or unlock the card to slot them into your Dynasty squad, you can simply opt in to utilizing the whole pool of Legends in your Franchise mode.

"Inside The Show" News Suite

(PS4, partial PS3)

Franchise, RTTS, and Season modes all feature a new suite of features centered on providing news updates from around the league. Inside The Show is a new radio broadcast that will be heard at the beginning of each new day and will discuss recent scores, notable performances, team news, milestones, records, standings, and more. In addition, the new League Updates panel, found in season based modes, gives the user a quick snapshot of updates from around the League so you donÂ’t have to dig through multiple screens to get the basics.


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Video inside The official Dying Light Thread (Ps4, Xbox One, PC)

By Remy Lebeaw - 1 day ago



Players assume the role of Kyle Crane, an undercover operative sent to infiltrate the quarantine zone in the city of Harran, Turkey, and watch as the rules that govern civilization crumble to dust, while there, he clashes with a brutal dictator, Kadir "Rais" Sulaiman and also finds himself torn between protecting the city's survivors lead by Harris Brecken and the mission he is supposed to be doing.



Metacritic: 80

This is where Dying Light truly shines. It feels like a mashup of various AAA games that came before it, and it works pretty well for the most part. It has a little bit of Assassin’s Creed, some of Mirror’s Edge and some of Far Cry’s elements, which, alongside Techland’s own spin, make for a compelling experience.

The parkour system, while not as advanced as the one in Mirror’s Edge, is surprisingly smooth, offering a freedom of movement and fluidity of navigation that feels absolutely liberating.

Together with the fact that although there is a rigid, linear story to follow, there are also a ton of side quests, and the freedom to pursue them at your leisure, it makes for a very pleasant and experience.

Of course, like any game that has a similar structure, some moment might also turn out to be immersion-breaking, like a message on the radio stating an emergency that you already know you can safely postpone for later on without any negative consequences.

You can choose your own path through the city, whether it’s jumping from rooftop to rooftop or treading through the streets, shoving zombies to the side or showing them who’s boss and going head to head with them.

Also surprising is the number of ledges you can grab on to. There aren’t any kind of highlights on the surfaces you can interact with, the rule of thumb being that if you should be able to grab something or climb to somewhere, you most likely will.

Previous runners have set up all kinds of ramps and signs through the city, highlighting freerunning paths that you can take, and there are trash mounds that can break your fall set up in various key locations where they would come in handy while being chased by the nastier undead.

All of these, together with the safe places and settlements scattered about, make for a pretty vivid and well-connected world that truly feels like a place where harrowed refugees are doing their best to survive, and a splendid setting for your adventures.





Read 82 comments »

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