The weather outside may be getting frightful, but the copious amount of eSports is still here to keep you warm through the week.
With the year winding down, events are becoming a bit few and far between. Even professional gamers need a holiday.
Thankfully, there’s still some exciting action to be had in Dota 2, League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive this week.
Hit the jump for a list of notable streams going live this week.
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.)
There’s no reason this game should have been good.
Its very existence is dripping with visible marketing. “Pokémon games are popular. Pokémon cards are popular. Let’s do it!”
Yet somehow Game Boy’s Pokémon Trading Card Game dodged its fate and turned out to be a pretty fun game.
Ironically, despite all the Pokémon cards I owned as a youth, I never really knew how to play. I credit this game with teaching me the proper rules and realizing that my elementary school bully didn’t properly defeat me with his shiny Charizard.
So once you learn the real rules and realize your childhood was a lie, the game surprisingly delivers. It starts off hilariously echoing Pokémon Red and Blue by having a scientist ask you which “deck” you want. It’s a nice nod to the series, but it is much less exciting to choose the “Charmander & friends deck” over a real Charmander. Though I guess neither is real, in retrospect. This game really makes you question everything.
After you choose your first deck, you end up in a hub world where you can travel to different clubs who each use a specific type. Beating players will unlock booster packs which let the player customize and build more decks.
Hearing the game described makes it sound like the poor-man’s Pokémon, and in some ways it is, but there’s something intriguing about the meta game within the game. I’d say its worth a look, even if it’s just for the soundtrack.
I can’t recall the last time I read a game’s instruction manual out of necessity. It’s hard to remember that there once was an era of gaming where rules had to be learned and discussed before playing. Nowadays, titles usually either teach the player within the confines of the game or simply let them learn intuitively.
But there’s always another way to play a game. With strange, seemingly absurd, self-imposed rules, one can transform a well-known game into an entirely different experience.
Unlike modding, where players can physically create and/or modify a game, the action I describe is more metaphysical. Since there is no official word for playing a game with fan-made restrictions and rules, allow me to share some personal stories involving the craft. Below, I’ve listed the titles I’ve played in a unique way that I found challenging and fun.
For all of the bluster and fuss over “high brow” and “low brow” entertainment, books and videogames are not always so different from each other. Both can be vessels for detailed and highly engrossing narratives.
Many great games have drawn from a rich pool of literature, especially those of the East. The four great epics of China from which we have gotten Suikoden, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and the various adaptations of Journey to the West, all owe their inspiration to their famous source material.
In contrast, the Western canon seems like a well left untapped. Often a movie adaptation beats a game to the punch and we get a game that seems more like an afterthought than an actual faithful working of the source material. With that said, it’s high time we look to books if we are to look forward to some better games.
Here are several works from both classical and modern literature that could easily make for some killer titles.
The year is coming to an end and for most of us at Pixelitis, that means snow. Lots of it.
Despite the amount of time we spend glued to our computer and/or TV screens, we’re not kids anymore, and that means our feelings regarding winter have changed. Snow is no longer for playing but rather for shoveling. It rarely means a day off and instead represents a hectic commute. Thankfully, we can still feel the same childhood joy at the sight of snow in our favorite games. The falling flakes and slippery surfaces make for some great locales and are perfect for destroying friends and enemies alike.
There’s also an interesting clash between the serenity of a snowy landscape and the inevitable carnage that occurs on it. Who would’ve thought we could fix all those terrible water levels by simply lowering the temperature?
So to get everyone in the mood for the chilly weather, here’s a list of our favorite chilly levels.
The world of competitive gaming is growing and keeping track of all the tournaments that are going on is actually quite difficult. Unlike traditional sports, there’s no ESPN to go to and no “day” that the games are always played on.
To help with that, here’s the eSports Forecast; a list of four major events going on this week in the various popular competitive games.
This week, we’re looking at Dota 2, League of Legends, Starcraft 2 and the fighting game community so hit the jump to see what to look forward to in the coming days.
(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.)
It’s easy enough to find a game where the end goal is to save the world, but what does that action really mean to the player? What is it about fictional worlds that makes one empathize with its existence? Why should we care about preventing its destruction?
Fire Emblem: Awakening, like many games, is about saving the world. But while other games simply use the “saving the world” formula to raise the stakes, Awakening succeeds in emotionally investing the player in the outcome of its story and characters
The cast has something for everybody. Of course, leading the way is Chrom, the virtuous blue-haired renegade. I personally preferred characters like Gaius, the thief motivated only by sweets, and Henry, a murderous mage who loves a good pun.
The game allows the player to use any characters they see fit, and the relationships the player builds with them feels organic. Additionally, by pairing up characters in combat, they will grow to like or even love each other. The number of pairings alone allows every Awakening player to have a unique experience.
And like all Fire Emblem games, death is permanent. The characters you have spent the whole game growing to love can be wiped out with one bad move. It keeps the tension high, and as the player, you get a sense of what you’re fighting for.
Awakening‘s plot might not be revolutionary, but it made me care. I was determined to make sure the good guys won.
Much like the duality between good and evil itself, gameplay based on moral decisions can either take the light or dark path in terms of its execution.
Though morality choices within games are nothing new, the feature itself seems to be a more modern trope. Series like Fallout, Infamous, and Fable have all advertised their moral choice system as a selling point. At their worst, moral choice systems remain just that: a selling point adhering to a fad.
At its best, the feature meshes with gameplay and challenges the player’s impulses. The best and most interesting problems never have one right way to solve them.
Since the launch of the Compact Disc in 1982, jewel cases and all cases thereafter always had one constant variable: the inserts, including the cover and/or instruction manual would be situated on the left and the disc would sit comfortably on the right.
We’re all used to opening our cases like this. It’s like second nature to us at this point. But then Microsoft decides to throw us for a loop with the Xbox One and revels against this long-standing status-quo.
Open up an Xbox One game case and you will instantly feel alienated. The scene you’re used to seeing has been totally flipped around. The disc now lays on the left side while any instruction manuals, codes or other papers are on the right.
What the hell, Microsoft?
Competitive gaming is great and all, but sometimes when you’re playing games you’d prefer some heart-warming companionship over a bitter rivalry.
Co-operative modes in videogames have been around for ages, from the early days of arcade beat-em-ups to online tag-teaming in the form of the PlayStation 4′s Resogun. And while there’s certainly no dearth of co-op games out there, some of us got to thinking that there are plenty of single player games that could use a good two, three or even four-player mode.
Isn’t it crazy to think that it took Nintendo 24 years to incorporate a simultaneous co-operative mode in the Super Mario Bros. franchise with New Super Mario Bros. Wii? Then think of how 3D Mario games didn’t get that luxury until just recently with Super Mario 3D World on Wii U. Clearly, even major franchises could use more co-op.
That’s where the Pixelitis staff comes in. Join us as we look at other games that could benefit from some couch (or even online) co-op, and be sure to tell us what other games you’d think would benefit from such a mode.