Gaming has never been better. Consoles, PCs, mobile devices and the Web all offer unique and innovative gaming experiences. Here, our geekiest gamers review the latest releases, talk trends and — once in a while — even go analog. We are the Button Mashers.
One of my habits is to write down all the crazy, fleeting ideas I have, then go back to review later rather than judging right off the bat, or even worse, forgetting them. Earlier in the month I was looking through that idea notepad and found “Make Tetris Pumpkins” from sometime last year. My original plan had been to make forms to shape pumpkins into Tetris pieces as they grew, then stack them together for Halloween. Since Halloween was only a few weeks away and it was too late to start growing pumpkins, I thought “Why not make a pumpkin you can play Tetris on instead?”
Why not, indeed?
Read more to see exactly how he did it, step by step (Hint: It involves wires, LEDs, mad programming skill and more patience than I’ll ever know.)
If you have a charitable gamer in your life, you probably know this weekend marks the annual Extra Life fundraising drive, a 24-hour gaming marathon in support of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Tons of gamers, including myself and fellow Button Masher Matt Dykstra and his sprawling team of Edmonton-based players, will be playing games straight through from this morning until tomorrow morning to raise money for our chosen kids’ hospital charities. (I’m backing the SickKids Foundation, Matt and the Extra Life Edmonton crew are supporting the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.)
I’m about to get settled in for what could be a long day and night — I’ve got a nice big coffee and egg n’ peameal bacon sammich to get the engine running, and tons of food, caffeinated bevvies and Visine for later on. It’ll be fun, at first. But I have a feeling that even by this evening this is going to feel like a bad idea. And at 3 a.m…. well, we’ll stagger across that bridge when we get to it.
With The Walking Dead TV series returning for a third season, it seems only appropriate that the fourth and penultimate episode of Telltale’s parallel video game came out this past week.
Picking up where the last one left off, Episode 4: Around Every Corner, starts with history professor/convicted murderer Lee Everett and his fellow survivors seeking refuge in Savannah, Ga., as the group continues to splinter apart. (Check out the reviews for episodes one, two and three for more of the backstory.)
Kenny has almost become completely unhinged as he deals with the loss of both his wife and son. But the former commercial fisherman still pins his hopes of finding a boat he can pilot to get the group to a safer port. Meanwhile Clementine, the little girl Lee comes across hiding alone in her house in the first episode, hopes that she might find her missing parents who were in Savannah on a trip when the zombie outbreak began. (And, Lee discovered last episode, Clementine has been secretly talking on her walkie talkie with a creepy, pedo-sounding guy who says he can help her look.)
However, almost as soon they reach the city, Lee and the gang are attacked by walkers, who are drawn there by bells ringing at a nearby church. When they manage to search the city, they discover all the cars are stores have already been looted for supplies by a group of local survivors who have holed up in a barricaded neighbourhood called Crawford – a place where only the young and healthy allowed to stay.
“The Waking Dead – Episode 4: Around Every Corner.”
The third episode had a tendency to drag but this one really lives up to its name – walkers do seem to be around every corner, waiting to throw themselves at you. Suspense and intrigue are added back to the story too. Perhaps this is because the characters this time round have discernible goals beyond simply surviving. And as we’re getting closer to the end of the “season”, there is an end in sight for the story. So even though some of the plot and character revelations are predictable and the quality of the voice acting varies, the game is exciting once again.
The fighting has become less awkward too. Part of this may be because there are more walkers to contend with this time, so the action gameplay becomes more natural for the player. But the quick time event action sequences are also now better integrated into the game.
Granted, there are still some scenes I had to redo a few times, such as trying to get Lee to jump from one rooftop to another or trying to kill a horde of zombies, while running up a staircase. And since it’s not a game where you die very often, when you are revived, it may be at an earlier point than you ‘d expect. It’s not usually too far back, but you may have to sit through an unskippable cutscene which is always annoying.
But overall, the game plays like the interactive television show it’s designed to be. And it ends with one Hell of a cliffhanger!
The Walking Dead – Episode 4: Around Every Corner PS3 (reviewed), Xbox 360, PC, Mac Telltale Games Rating: Mature 4 out of 5
Even if the characters break a sweat in Dead or Alive 5, the casual gamer doesn’t have to.
As soon as the disc slides into the game console, and the opening screen loads, it will ask you whether you are a casual gamer, or serious.
That accommodation is a great way to reach out to more gamers. On top of that, the basic controls of punch, kick, throw and block allow gamers an easier way to learn the patterns of a particular fighter.
Most of the cast of Dead or Alive returns, including mainstays Kasumi, Ayane, Ryu, Hayate, Tina, Zack, Bass and Helena.
Added to the cast are two newbies, Mila and Rig. And yes, Rig is Canadian. Only the second Canadian to make a major fighting game roster.
Sega’s Virtua Fighter also crosses over into the DOATEC storylines, with Akira Yuki, Sarah Bryant and Pai Chan available to players as they progress through the story mode.
The cheesecake factor is still there but it doesn’t take away from the fighting. The interactivity of the stages, the added sweat and water details and the cross-platform release are all pluses. Still the online accessibility is still lagging as it takes a lengthy amount of time to find someone to scrap against.
But that could be attributed to the hardcore fighters panning this game in favour of Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
Gaming has never been better. Consoles, PCs, mobile devices and the web all offer unique and innovative gaming experiences. Here, our geekiest gamers review the latest releases, talk trends and - once in a while - even go analog.