2015 Game of the Year Picks

750px-Elongated_circle_2015.svgDon’t have time for a 3+ hour podcast. We get that. Here’s a list of the Top 5 lists from the show:

Tom Sheppard

  1.  Undertale
  2.  Life is Strange
  3.  Crypt of the Necrodancer
  4.  Axiom Verge
  5.  Super Mario Maker

Tony Divito

  1. Halo 5: Guardians
  2. Rocket League
  3. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
  4. Ori and the Blind Forest
  5. Fallout 4

Neil Waggoner

  1. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
  2. Life is Strange
  3. Fallout 4
  4. Tales From the Borderlands
  5. Rise of the Tomb Raider

Mike McFadden

  1. Rocket League
  2. Crypt of the Necrodancer
  3. Ori and the Blind Forest
  4. Affordable Space Adventure
  5. Yoshi’s Wooly World

Nick “Kaz” Kosareo

  1. Kerbal Space Program
  2. Ori and the Blind Forest
  3. Rocket League
  4. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  5. DiRT: Rally

Justin Hemenway

  1.  Super Mario Maker
  2.  Undertale
  3.  Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  4.  Splatoon
  5.  Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

“Nickydino”

  1.  Tales From the Borderlands
  2.  The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
  3.  Undertale
  4.  Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  5.  Splatoon

The Rumble Reader Episode 6: What Would Yamauchi Do?

Though some gamers may not want to admit it, everyone loves Nintendo. As Justin, Nick and Tony point out, that’s never been more apparent, as both the company’s E3 press conference and new handheld generated lots of positive buzz a couple weeks ago. In this week’s reading assignment, “Nintendo Magic,” Japanese journalist Osamu Inoue examines how Nintendo reclaimed the industry spotlight, and how Satoru Iwata’s management style helped facilitate an internal shift.
 
Relevant Links:
 
“Iwata Asks” Interviews

Microschoolin’

WarioWare D.I.Y. is a tricky little game. While past entries were praised for their approachability, the hours of tutorials and dozens of switches in this latest edition can make anyone’s head spin. That’s Tony and Justin are here to help. The guys may not be experts – RumbleTek Inc. has only released 11 hits so far – but they’ll help you get your first few ideas off the ground.

1. Don’t be afraid of the music editor – Unless you’re already a composer, I think everyone’s first instinct will be to click on the little maestro in the corner and let him handle all of the tunes. It’s a cool a feature that is still plenty customizable, so I’m glad it’s there. Even so, give yourself a little credit! You’re not tone deaf, and you only need to come up with four to eight seconds worth of music. Experiment a little – move notes around, learn how to stack notes to make chords and try all of the different instruments. As someone who has used both methods, I can tell you that manual composition is much more satisfying than automatic. Also, the maestro is never going to be able to reproduce Super Mario Land music or the Don’t Wake Daddy jingle. Read more

Doing What Nintendon’t (Week of 2/8)

I guess Konami isn’t the only company in the “ReBirth” business. Yesterday, Sunsoft launched its latest attempt to recapture former glory, Blaster Master Overdrive, and it’s actually pretty decent. However, while that game’s grabbing all of the headlines, Konami’s quirky Tomena Sanner, Nintendo’s latest DSi puzzler and an NES game with more vegetables than Super Mario Bros. 2 also get the DWN treatment this week.

We can’t afford to play all of this week’s downloadable releases, so let us know in the comments or the message board if we’ve missed a hidden gem. Special thanks to Tony for the Tomena Sanner write-up.

Master Blaster Overdrive
WiiWare/Sunsoft
1,000 Points

Let me start off by saying that I was never a huge fan of the original Master Blaster. I see the appeal – a jumping tank, a missing frog and Metroid-style exploration – but it’s obnoxiously hard, and those overhead sections are universally reviled for a reason. I think this is one of those “you had to be there” cases. That said, I came into Overdrive with an open mind. It’s a killer concept that just needed a bit more polish, and luckily, there have been enough tweaks to make this approachable for newcomers. Read more

World of Flash: In the Year 2000!

In light of recent events, I felt I should show my colors – go Team Conan! OK, time for business.

In the popular “Late Night” segment, Conan would make humorous predictions of what was going to happen in the years to come, even though 2000 had come and gone. In contrast, these are going to be very serious predictions on where Flash/browser-based gaming can/will go in the future – from the coming months to years down the line. Sure, you may end up laughing, but these are my predictions on where Flash can go and where it can falter…

  • Flash games will not only be used as advertising, but will have direct effects on the stories of the games they’re linked to – This is an easy one because the trend has already started. While it’s a couple steps away, Dragon Age: Journeys is a fun flash game that can be tied to an EA account. Depending on how much of the game you complete, EA will reward you with in-game items for the full Dragon Age: Origins. If they can share enough information to make it so that your progress in a Flash game can equate to rewards in the retail release, it seems more than possible to have the same factors affect the development of the story. Perhaps not main plot elements, but wouldn’t it be cool if the actions of your Flash character prevented a city from being raided in the main game?

Read more

World of Flash: Where the Flash Things Are

Now that the holidays are over and people have gone back to the grind of reality, I have returned in an attempt to make your productivity plummet. In what will likely be the last of my “surveys of the Flash gaming world,” I will be like the mother bird and feast upon the flesh of my runt offspring. I josh. Instead I shall provide you with wings, so that you may begin to wander the wild world of Flash yourself.

Newgrounds

Tank

Founded by Tom Fulp, the programmer behind the dynamic developer duo that is Behemoth (creators of Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers), Newgrounds is likely the largest site of user-submitted and peer-reviewed content on the web. The site primarily relies on amateur or very small independent developers to submit their Flash game/video to the community. Then it is up to the community to either protect it and push it to the top, or to “blam” it and keep it from ever seeing the light of day. Read more

World of Flash: A New View on Life

Welcome back to my little hovel of a weekly blog known as the World of Flash. So at the end of last week, I told you I was going to inform you about where to find these flash games in nature. Well, I lied. I know, I’m horrible. I’m a monster. Get over it. I only do this for you. The world of Flash games is a big and scary place, and I’m not ready to let go of you just yet. Instead, this week I’m going to take you on a journey to a small but really intriguing niche of Flash game, perspective-based puzzlers. There are only a handful of games that fill this genre, but what they do is so unique and interesting that I feel they warrant a little more attention. So open your mind and get ready to adapt a whole new point of view.

Coign of Vantage

That squirrel is flying over your head in a million pieces!

Well, it takes a while to put a million pieces back together!

Made by two guys named Markus and Philipp based out of Vienna, Coign of Vantage has the player adjusting his or her mouse to line up pixels in such a way that a 2D image is formed. The twist is that the pixels are scattered in 3D space, and the only thing you can control is the camera. Did I mention the time limit? Time begins to count down from thirty seconds as soon as the first pixels appear. However, with each image you complete, you gain more time to complete further images. Still, as the clock winds down, your mouse starts flailing more and more as you try to find just where the hell you need to put the camera. What’s the goal? Points, baby, points! Finish as many as you can to earn the high score and gloat to your friends about your more worldly perspective. Or don’t and just enjoy the game and the soothing piano accompaniment. Read more

Hello, World (of Flash)

WHADDUP BLOGOSPHERE?! Do people even call it that anymore?

After a long silence, here I am. Once again back is the incredible, not-so-rhyme animal, Incredible T. Or perhaps the incredible, inedible Tony. ‘Lo what could stir the Tony so strongly that he found it necessary to write again? The answer, my esteemed friends and colleagues, is Flash games.

I’d like to begin with a discussion of the qualification of a Flash game. A Flash game can be made using Adobe flash, but I really use this as a general term for browser based gaming. There are slight variations between engines used, but the point is that the code is compact enough to be downloaded and then run within the confines of your browser window. A Flash game is typically an independent production from a single person or a small team. However, there are known contradictions to this, in particular the Dragon Age Journeys game put out by EA2D. So as you can see, there has been a large amount of evolution to the Flash game genre. Now take my hand and join me on a trip to visit a couple of the latest and greatest residents of the magical world of Flash.

Canabalt

OH CHRIST!

CHEESE IT!

Ah, here is a game marvelous in its simplicity. Known as an iPhone app from a group called Semi Secret Software, Canabalt really has its roots in the hands of two prolific indie designers; Adam Atomic in charge of the game and its visuals and Dan Baranowsky in charge of the music. As some sort of perfect storm of simplicity, the game is highly addictive. In fact, these guys keep it so simple that your only means of control is a jump key! Originally mapped to the x and c keys, as an iPhone app you find yourself frantically trying to tap the screen (or click for the browser version) to jump over all the obstacles dumped in your path. And what, pray tell, are you running from? Who the hell knows! I just know it must be scary as hell because the more obstacles you miss, the faster your little man books it from the left side of the screen to the right. The game also derives a lot of its atmosphere from the fast retro-esque music and sound design, as well as the carnage ensuing in the background. If you enjoy this fantastic work that was first constructed on the flixel engine, be sure to check out another fav of mine called Gravity Hook. Read more

Devil May Cry 4 Review

It’s been a while since I’ve had a lot of fun with a hack and slash. It’s also been a while since I’ve had fun with Devil May Cry (let’s face it, 3 was just ok, not good, ok). Now, DMC is back, but with a new protagonist. That’s right, Old Man Dante has taken a step aside to let in a new generation of Devil Hunter; one that looks almost exactly like him. However, while Nero may be a visual twin, the difference between handling these two is the difference between handling an SUV and a Lamborghini.

Yes, you heard me right, you get to play as both characters, but unlike driving an SUV (and kinda like handling a Lambo) experiencing both characters is a blast. Dante is as familiar as ever…and apparently following DMC and before DMC2 (remember: DMC3 = prequel) he has become a GOD. When you first handle him, it will be like a reunion with an old friend. But, as with all things, Dante has changed with time. Seriously, this man is beefed up and ready to destroy anything or anyone in his path. Yes, you can switch weapons on the fly still. But they added something even better; now you can switch fighting styles on the fly as well. While that may not seem like a big deal, as you begin to get accustomed to how it works, switching styles and weapons end up becoming incredibly fun. You also get some Devil Arms as Dante, the two coolest being Pandora and Lucifer. Pandora is a box with 666 different forms; in game you use about 7 of them, all of them being ridiculously powerful. Lucifer is a melee weapon that sticks exploding spikes into your opponent; it also provides Dante with the opportunity to make jokes about his male member. Either way, playing with Dante has become even better and more badass. However, the star of this show is Nero; and let me tell you, this star shines bright. Read more

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men Review

So here’s the deal, Mr. Gerstmann, I’m comin’ to join ya. But here’s what I’m gonna say, I feel as though even Gerstmann gave Kane & Lynch a little too much credit. This game not only fails to live up to hype and expectations, but I feel it even fails to live up to some things I would find standard in this new age of quality shooters.

The story, first of all, is atrocious. While some of it may seem fresh at the start (you are rescued from a death sentence only to find you have to work for a mercenary group you once “betrayed”) it eventually turns into another tepid tale of revenge. That’s it…the only reason you continue on, revenge at all costs. Oh yeah, and your character is a despicable human being. Real bad. So bad that you really don’t care about your character or his well being at all. In fact, most of the main “protagonists” are so vile that you may end up hating them more than your villains. This game is also killed by the fact that there are major holes left in the story after completion, and all of these holes lie within character development. You wonder things like “Why does Kane have a Scar?”, “What is the story with that Japanese guy?” and “What did happen on that fateful day that you betrayed your group?”. None of these question are ever really answered, leaving your characters as superficial and loathsome as before. After experiencing rich stories like CoD 4’s or being immersed in an environment and scenario of grandiose proportion like in Bioshock, the story of Kane and Lynch is so banal it makes it makes The Great Muppet Caper seem like an epic Heist and revenge story by comparison. I’m sorry that was mean of me…The Great Muppet Caper deserves much better treatment than that. Read more

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