Category:  Features

By Pixelitis Staff, April 23, 2014 0 Features, Pixelitis Picks

Endings can be a finicky thing, especially when deus ex machina is involved.

When one finishes a videogame, the final moments are often the most crucial and defining aspects of the virtual experience. Not only will this last bit be the final taste the player is left with, the ending is also the culmination of all the player’s actions up to that moment. Be it a final boss or a race against the clock, a game ideally puts all the player’s acquired strengths to the ultimate test.

That, or an omnipotent force comes out of nowhere and immediately saves the day. Well, that was anticlimactic.

Whether you love them or hate them, the deus ex machina is a plot device that is commonly used in all types of fiction. They are perhaps most notorious in videogames as the deus ex machina often takes power away from the player and can often make the ending seem out of one’s control.

Regardless, we at Pixelitis decided to chronicle our most memorable experiences with the frequently used trope. Feel free to share us your own thoughts in the comments section below.

And just a warning: there will be spoilers posted for Mass Effect 3, Resident Evil 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4. (more…)

By Stephen Hilger, April 21, 2014 0 Features, Postcard Review

(Editor’s note: In the Postcard Review, members of the Pixelitis staff write small, easily digestible reviews big enough to ‘fit on a postcard’ – hence the title. It can be about the whole experience or just a small piece of the pie. No scores needed.)

When a game is considered one of the greatest of all time, it’s important to look back on it and see what exactly made it so universally hailed.

For many people, Chrono Trigger is a staple of childhood. This is a game that pits time-traveling robots and talking frogs against aliens and dinosaurs. And all of the character designs are by the same artist from Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. I can’t think of a bigger 90s childhood fantasy unless the Street Sharks were to make a cameo.

The plot (time travel aside) is a brilliantly simple adventure story that is strengthened by clear stakes, a great sense of humor, and lovable characters. I stress this a lot: a game can have as messy of a plot as it wants, but as long as we care about the characters, we will want to keep playing to see them through. Between the heroic-yet-silent Crono, the paternal Robo and chivalrous Frog, this game has one of the most iconic and empathetic casts of all time. Just look at them.

One of my favorite features is the pairing system. Many characters can do special moves together, such as Frog and Crono’s X-Slash. Allowing the gameplay to change depending on one’s personal preference of character is something more games (especially RPGs) should have.

Honestly, this game is flawless. I myself played Chrono Cross first, and while I love that game too, Chrono Trigger is a true masterpiece.

By Patrick Kulikowski, April 21, 2014 0 Features, PAX East '14

Indie developers had three days at last week’s PAX East 2014 to show off their games to the myriad of people swarming the show floor, but what if they only had 30 seconds to sell people on it?

That’s precisely what Karen, Andrew and I set out to do when scoping out the Indie Megabooth for new games to check out. In our latest video, we put indie developers to the test in providing elevator pitches for their upcoming games in 30 seconds or less.

Supergiant Games, Klei Entertainment, 17-BIT, Vlambeer, Brace Yourself Games, Discord Games, Yacht Club Games, Iridium Studios and Loveshack took our challenge and we’ve pieced together the outcome.

The results are a ridiculous combination of impressive and utterly amusing speed-talking. We suggest that you give it a watch after the break.

If you enjoyed the video, be sure to give us a rating, comment and a subscription on the YouTube page.

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By Pixelitis Staff, April 16, 2014 0 Features, Pixelitis Picks

For the longest time, virtual reality has been relegated to the annals of science fiction. Sometimes a convenient way for Picard and Q to travel to the far distant past, other times a method for hackers to storm major servers a la Neuromancer, the idea of virtual reality seemed so distant.

Yet with the advent of devices like the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus, the day where man can experience their digital worlds as if they’ve been transported to them could be coming sooner, rather than later.

During PAX East this past weekend in Boston, long lines persisted at any booth featuring the Oculus Rift, demonstrating the fact that gamers are ready for the tech – even as the world scoffs at Facebook’s meddling in the matter.

Given that interest in the technology, we wondered what kind of games we’d like to see get the V.R. treatment. From the odd to the fantastic, we believe these digital worlds would be worth the price of admission.

Featured image taken by Sergey Galyonkin. Photo was resized.

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By Pixelitis Staff, April 16, 2014 0 PAX East '14, So I Heard You Like Cosplay

Only at cons do you get a trio of Tingles. Only at cons.

PAX East cosplay was in full swing this past weekend and Pixelitis has got the evidence right here. Staffers saw favorites like The Prince from Katamari Damacy as well as Marth from Fire Emblem.

We snapped pictures of some Hotline Miami cosplayers, Resident Evil’s Barry Burton and Bioshock Infinite’s Luteces in their sharpest and wittiest. Associate Editor Patrick Kulikowski also noted various Ravios from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds out on the show floor. All we needed was a “Hey Mr. Hero!” to top things off.

Our hats go off to the one lone Limbo cosplay. It was both creepy and amazing.

Although it felt as if the con had a bit less cosplay than usual, that didn’t mean the costumes were any less awesome.

Check out the full gallery from this weekend after the jump.  (more…)

By Karen Rivera, April 11, 2014 0 Features, PAX East 2014, Staff Musings

As fans of videogames and nerd culture, the staff of Pixelitis has always strived to share the efforts of fans and people who dress up and enjoy their favorite fandoms. As such, we’ve taken steps to spotlight the hard work and dedication of cosplayers over the years.

But speaking for myself as an editor and photographer, it’s safe to say I’ve run into a few awkward conundrums involving cosplayers.

As the pool of gamers and people that participate in nerd culture grows by the day, there’s still a lot left to be said for respecting one’s space, especially as male or female cosplayers. Gender-bending cosplay is becoming more common, as I saw in NYCC last year. I value the expression put behind the amazing costumes, but just because the characters they portray are dressed a certain way does not make them targets for bigotry or sexism.

Since we’re here at PAX East, now might be a good time to discuss how we share our enthusiasm in a way that everyone can get behind.  (more…)

By Stephen Hilger, April 10, 2014 5 Features, Humor, Staff Musings

(Editor’s note: Following Tuesday’s major Super Smash Bros. reveal, our very own Stephen Hilger decided to channel Captain Falcon in what he believes would be the F-Zero superstar’s feelings on his glaring omission from the game’s roster. Think of this as a humorous editorial, rather than the ravings of a madman…)

To Whom It May Concern,

I debated for hours whether to address this letter to Nintendo, Namco Bandai, Sora Ltd, Masahiro Sakurai himself, the fans or my fellow smash bros, but since you’ve all stopped replying to my calls, tweets and Xanga messages, I thought I’d publish my thoughts for all to see.

Now reader, if you have the time, I’d love to show you my feelings

One question in particular bothers me:

WHY HAVE I NOT BEEN CONFIRMED FOR THE NEXT SUPER SMASH BROS?!

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By Stephen Hilger, April 7, 2014 0 Features, Postcard Review

(Editor’s note: In the Postcard Review, members of the Pixelitis staff write small, easily digestible reviews big enough to ‘fit on a postcard’ – hence the title. It can be about the whole experience or just a small piece of the pie. No scores needed.)

When Shadow of the Colossus first came out for the PlayStation 2, it was not immediately touted as the instant classic that it is today. It didn’t reach Citizen Kane levels of appreciation until at least a generation later.

But is Shadow of the Colossus one of the best games of all time?

While games like God of War revel in action and gratuitous satisfaction, Shadow of the Colossus is a very minimalist work despite its grandiose battles. There’s no urgency for the player to arrive at the next colossus fight, but exploring the world created by Fumito Ueda is an absorbing and rich experience. One might get frustrated at the game’s lack of direction, yet the game’s freedom makes all victories, failures, and discoveries feel organically unique to the player.

Really, I don’t need to sing the game’s praises past that. The graphics live up remarkably well, the soundtrack is captivating and the design of both the colossi and the Wanderer is top notch.

My only qualm with this game is the horse, Agro. I’ve mentioned how poorly this steed controls before, but I genuinely feel like Agro is the only thing wrong with this game. I do appreciate the realism the game tries to offer by causing the hero to often lose balance and struggle with his sword while on horseback, but there’s no reason Agro should control like unresponsive tar.

Otherwise, yea, the game’s a masterpiece.

By Pixelitis Staff, April 4, 2014 0 Features, Pixelitis Picks

The Year of Luigi may have sadly come and gone like dust in the wind, but that only means that there’s a ray of hope for a bright future for another hero in Nintendo’s roster.

Like many Nintendo fans, we at Pixelitis don’t think that Nintendo should stop at Luigi. Now that the underrated plumber got his shot at glory through releases like New Super Luigi U and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, it’s time to usher forth another Nintendo character that deserves his or her own chance at the spotlight.

But who should the year of 2014 belong to? Let’s get to picking.

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By Pixelitis Staff, April 1, 2014 0 Features, VGdrum

Barkley Gaiden co-creator Eric “CBoyardee” Schumaker called the title theme of The Chessmaster “the song that legitimized chess.” Laser Time Podcast referred to it as “the soundtrack to a vaudevillian ******ed character in a cartoon walking slowly down to the bus stop.” In other words, it’s the greatest videogame song of all time.

Join VGdrum The Chessmaster as he makes his triumphant return to YouTube with a videogame music drum cover of the bass-heavy title theme from The Chessmaster, one of the finest Super Nintendo tunes in existence.

The tune’s pacing is magnificent and its Seinfeld/Rugrats-inspired slap bass riff and soaring horn sections call to mind the uncertainty one may feel when playing an intense game of chess. Let your ears be pierced by the heavenly high-pitched keys.

Take a gander at The Chessmaster’s magnificence after the break, and be sure to shower him with your praise on YouTube and Facebook, lest he make an example of you, much like when he trumped Gary Kasparov and Deep Blue with nothing more than a row of pawns and a single bishop.

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