Archive for category gaming
We have all seen some pretty absurd names in video games, whether it be from something on the sillier side like Conkers Bad Fur Day, or something a little more serious like Final Fantasy. There is that moment when you are playing a game and you are introduced to a character with a name so long you couldn’t pronounce it if you tried, or a name so silly that you actually burst into laughter when you see it, the name of a character becomes an iconic part of not only the game, but the fandom as well and it begs the question that we all have wanted to ask at least once in our lives, “what were they thinking?”
Video game character names have become such a staple to the game itself that it is hard to decipher if the name is ridiculous but we are used to it, or its just a normal name, if you say something enough, anything can sound normal. So without further ado, this is my list of most ridiculous character names in video games;
Although Samus isn’t a ridiculous name, which is why it is only getting an honorable mention, it did have the added effect of confusing everyone who played into thinking Samus was a man, when infact she was a really tiny blonde girl. Not at all what I thought was under that power suit. Samus had generations of people using her character, and became highly popular in Super Smash bros, all while people thought she was a he, Mulan would be proud Samus.
Lets start off with one of the less known characters:
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The Elder Scrolls is a long running and award winning computer games series set in the continent of Tamriel spanning several centuries and containing many myths and stories. The have been many games released along with many add-on storylines ranging a Holy Crusade across Cyrodiil, entering other realms, getting involved with vampires and so on.
The Elder Scrolls can be, in my opinion, adapted into a TV series. It already had plenty of characters, stories, plots, locations, dialogue, weapons, items etc so half the work is already done. All that would need to be done is work on a way to take the game dialogue and work it into a script while taking into account the various multiple choice options, that and getting the rights to make it.
I listed five titles that could be adapted, a given a brief description of the game, what is in it, and who I would want to play the character (in some cases the same actor who provided their voice for the game). Feel free to give your own opinions or suggestions; if enough people like it, it may just happen. (SPOILER ALERT: THERE ARE REFERENCES TO SPECIFIC MISSIONS WHICH MAY RUIN YOUR GAME EXPERIENCE)
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Many people in the world play video games; and a significant number of those people have pre-ordered a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One. However, that said, apart from a very select few, no one actually knows when these two behemoths of the gaming world are going to launch.
Having had a serious look at all that we know, as well as the history of the two brands, we can actually formulate and make a few reasonable predictions about the release dates. Here they are:
Sony’s PlayStation 4
PlayStation – Release Dates
JP December 3, 1994 Saturday
NA September 9, 1995 Saturday
EU September 29, 1995 Friday
AUS November 15, 1995 Wednesday
PlayStation 2 – Release Dates
JP March 4, 2000 Saturday
NA October 26, 2000 Thursday
EU November 24, 2000 Friday
AUS November 30, 2000 Thursday
PSP (PlayStation Portable) – Release Dates
JP December 12, 2004 Sunday
NA March 24, 2005 Thursday
EU September 1, 2005 Thursday
AUS September 1, 2005 Thursday
PlayStation 3 – Release Dates
JP November 11, 2006 Saturday
NA November 17, 2006 Friday
EU March 23, 2007 Friday
AUS March 23, 2007 Friday
PlayStation Vita – Release Dates
JP December 17, 2011 Saturday
NA February 22, 2012 Wednesday
EU February 22, 2012 Wednesday
AUS February 23, 2012 Thursday
Points Of Note:
– Every single home console released by Sony has been released in the EU on a Friday, following the traditional day that games are released.
– Japan launches everything on a Saturday, apart from the PSP, which launched a day late.
– The US has no particular pattern for hardware launches. But it seems likely with the new US/UK focus that the PS4 will launch on a date to focus on the gamers in those countries. IE, Tuesday in the US, Friday in the EU.
– Australian launches historically hug the EU, meaning that usually the two aren’t far apart.
Sony’s Behaviour Says:
Team Sony have been riding a wave of positive momentum after a fairly astonishing E3 in which they said that the PlayStation 4 (PS4) will launch ‘holiday 2013.’ Now, several different retail outlets and internet sources have thrown different dates out. In particular Media Markt, who have placed signs in stores across Europe citing a PS4 launch date of November 13th, 2013. Where as Amazon had slated October 29th as the big day to coincide with the release of Battlefield 4, before changing it to December 31st. It seems as though there are dates being thrown around left, right and centre. The truth is that both of these dates have been confirmed as nothing more than place holders, a clever and deceptive tool that enables a heightened sense of excitement due to perceived ‘knowledge’ that the desirable item is coming at a specific time. This is better for retailers than an uncertain limbo state when there is no pinpointed date given and thus momentum and ‘hype’ towards a product falls.
So with that in mind we can look towards what is realistic. Firstly, if history shows us nothing else it’s that Japan will get the PS4 before any other territory. Let’s get that out of the way. It’s done. Secondly, Sony announced their new console at a conference that occurred in New York, stating that the console would launch ‘Holiday 2013.’ We now know that this also applies to the US – and it was also then confirmed as being the case in the UK (this was confirmed by a full page advert in The Metro – a free newspaper in London.)
The difficult territory to predict for the PS4 is Australia. Historically the EU and Oz get a back seat to Sony’s parties, but with Sony placing that full page advert, effectively confirming that the UK (by which we must assume means the EU as a whole) is a priority territory one must believe that Australia will also not be left behind, meaning a worldwide launch in 2013. It feels prudent to suggest that Sony will not do a worldwide launch all in one day. That would simply be too demanding on their resources. And, considering the astronomical pre-orders worldwide they will certainly want to stagger matters. which sadly means that Australia (and possibly the rest of the EU) might have to take a minor hit on the launch date.
Sony’s biggest launch game for the PS4, bar none, is Watch Dogs. You can talk about Call Of Duty, Madden and FIFA all you like. But Sony have secured exclusive content on Watch Dogs – and are likely to make sure that EVERYONE knows about it. So we can reasonably expect the PS4 to land in the US and UK with Watch Dogs already available – which likely means launching on or around the game’s release date, one might conclude. Which would mean a US/UK launch in the week commencing November 18th, 2013.
PREDICTED PLAYSTATION 4 LAUNCH DATE:
JP November 9, 2013 Saturday
NA November 19, 2013 Tuesday
EU November 22, 2013 Friday
AUS November 28, 2013 Thursday
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Beyond: Two Souls has proven to be a very divisive game so far, with critics and fan-reaction being split somewhat down the middle, although more seem to be falling into the “what the hell is this?!” side of the debate, as oppose to congratulating David Cage and his team at Quantic Dream for their efforts.
David Cage is a man so loving of his own creative vision that there’s a small, cult-like following around his creations. Such a figure is always going to create controversy, but even if when reading this you’re firmly in the Hate Camp, always remember that the best art forms, especially wen it comes to film, have always had controversial creators behind them.
In this world of annually-regurgitated franchises featuring bladed assassins or skull-faced mercenaries, we need a figure like Cage to play with the boundaries of gaming as a medium. Having a skilled production team on his side serves to make his complex visions a reality, and can aid in bringing out a wider appreciation for video games overall, either through staunch opposition to his work, or through learning from his mistakes.
Whilst there’s been a wealth of controversy flowing through the internet (as there) always is when anyone tends to stray from normality, I thought it was about time to celebrate the things that Beyond does right, as oppose to lambasting it’s creative vision due to lack of genre-pigeonholing. The entries will all be spoiler-free, but I welcome everything to be discussed in the comments below…
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With there only being about a month to go until the ‘next generation’ is upon us, it begs the question as to why there seems to be a complete lack of buzz around the releases of the new Xbox and PlayStation consoles. Even heavyweights Ubisoft have delayed their Assassin’s Creed-esque titan Watch Dogs alongside open-world driving game The Crew, under the guise that the games needed to be ‘fine tuned’ before release.
Take that as you will, but the fact remains that for many these games were system-sellers, and the very reason they were struggling to stymie up any positive energy towards forking out another considerable amount of money for the sake of playing something slightly shinier in the first place.
Therefore it prompts the question: ‘If delaying a couple of major titles is enough to cause console pre-orders to be withdrawn and Ubisoft’s shares to plummet, what were people holding onto outside of that?’
I remember the hype leading up to the launch of the PS2, back when console wars were something fought across playgrounds and work spaces, the screenshots of the likes of Tekken Tag Tournament, SSX and Timesplitters were nothing short of salivating.
We had to have that console as soon as yesterday, and the resulting clamour to get a hold of one set in motion what became pretty much the greatest console run in history, beginning with the sort of fandom more commonly seen around film premieres or Apple launch events.
However even though the big-wigs are intent on telling us it’s going to be the biggest launch ever, something feels off this time around, and here’s 10 reasons why.
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We’ve all come across them, whining moaning bitches ever-ready to hurl their unwarranted and unwanted lame-ass excuses for when once again they got their butt beat, their pride ploughed and their confidence crushed. It’s a pretty close call between their bitching itself being the most irritating or that fact that they think we’re interested. Here’s some info for you guys, we don’t care. I care as much about your excuses as I do about your injured ego.
Now that doesn’t mean I don’t care about you as a person, (although I probably don’t) it just means that if you want to make me care (which you probably don’t) get some originality in there. Some humour. Some wit.
Difficult I know, but if we allow ourselves to be unfettered by truth or even some basic plausibility, we can turn that frown upside down and you can pat yourself on the back because even if you sucked, you at least brought a smile to a cynical old man’s face.
When gamers complain that lag is effecting their game, they’re actually referring to latency. That’s right, geek gamers who if they have one mitigating factor to justify their existence, it should be their encyclopedic knowledge about things that normal people can file under ‘Star Trek’ as a level of essentiality.. If despite their geekage they are messing up on something as basic as this it’s no wonder they’re incapable of walking from A to B without getting their gonads shot off by some 12 year old camper.
If you hear someone complaining about lag, adopt a precocious air and snort to them that “you mean ‘latency’, actually”. The snort is important. Nothing upsets a geek more than being out-geeked.
If however, someone pulls this trick on you, retort ‘No, I mean lag. I have jet-lag. Nice attempt on the snort by the way there bro’.
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It’s sad to say, but I’m not getting any younger. Mixed in with the sadness that I can’t outrun The Grim Reaper forever (but I do continually flip him the bird from over my shoulder) is a cool compilation of great memories. Memories are an awesome aspect of existence in the sense that they can be sparked by all kinds of situations. Looking at an old photo of friends sitting around a Nintendo or Sega Genesis sparks memories of that day and that time, not to mention that era.
Thinking about the games we played and the conversations we had are a great part of getting older and anticipating the good times to come, there’s a lot to look forward to (especially since I plan to hang in there until I can be downloaded into an immortal killer cyborg that will eat planets). Thanks to technology and nostalgia we can have our cake and eat it too. Old school can be retrofitted for a new audience and a generation of gamers who often wonder what the fuss was all about.
Here are 10 games I think are worthy of a new lease on life, so that they can spark fond memories for the youngun’s now.
10. General Chaos
EA games was well on their way to being known for Madden football and atrocious press by the time General Chaos hit the Genesis. A rare game that actually seemed better suited for the PC due to the point and click control scheme that would be used to great effect in the Diablo series and other RTS games. However the camera was set far closer to the action and the number of sprites to work with was never more than four. The character classes available determined what combination the player could work with. The game had a pretty serviceable single player experience but where it shined was in its one on one multi-player.
The object of the game was to navigate the rather intimate map and eliminate the opposing players units. The presentation was very comical with cartoon representations of violence and explosions. The units were highly varied with demolition experts, guys with flame throwers, machine gunners and medics for starters. The units also had a limited AI as the game required the player to guide players and instruct them to behave outside of direct control. Being able to scroll through the squad and coordinate the group effort in real time made for some memorable battles.
With the use of the voice command technology of the Xbox One and the PS4 General Chaos could really take advantage of the whole chaos aspect. The field of play doesn’t need much of an update aside from expected graphic updates; making the maps any bigger wouldn’t be exactly beneficial. The size of the maps really made EndWar a bit of a hassle in the end. Being able to issue verbal commands would allow for the player to eschew the complex button pressing and get right to the real strategy.
The comedic style of the graphics and game play would also be a bit of fresh air as more and more games do away with skirting the lines between hyper realism and cartoon graphics. The strength of the next gen systems could allow for adding more players (factions) to the experience and add another worthy entry into the competitive party game. Currently the party usually ends when in my excitement I smash a friends ‘guitar’. No one said rocking was easy.
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As a child you believe that, if you follow the rules outlined for you, you will be achieve anything and everything you’ve ever wanted. The world is a ripe orchard of opportunity waiting to be picked at a moment’s notice. But anyone over the age of 20 knows this isn’t always the case. In fact, the most valuable lessons of life are learned outside the government-required methods of teaching and learning.
As I grew up, I encountered some harsh realities that no one really prepared me for. However, they seemed familiar, as if I had lived another set of lives that gave me an insight – albeit the slightest one – into how to best deal with what was happening to me. That’s when lightning struck, and I realized that any reality check or life lesson I would encounter, I would already be prepared for… thanks to video games.
Yes, video games. Throughout my 30 years of life there are five main lessons I’ve learned because of my digital adventures and tribulations, and chances are, you’ve learnt the same things…
5. Most People Are Out To Serve Themselves
One thing I came to grips with through my 20s was the fact that, no matter what field you work in, you will be surrounded by people whose main objective is to further their own lives. It doesn’t matter if you’re working for a non-profit, or deal in some kind of client services; the services rendered are often fueled by an individual’s desire to increase their own repertoire of accomplishments. If it so happens that they are able to do it in a field that allows them to help people, all the better. Those are called psychic benefits. Although nice, most people understand that you can’t pay rent with good vibes.
In the gaming world you often see a similar situation in FPS multiplayer games – particularly in team deathmatch mode. Your teammates aren’t there to help you get the highest score, and you aren’t there to help them. You are all there to achieve as many unlocks and points as possible with the added benefit of being able to use your teammates as distractions. A few games reward the “support” role, like Ghost Recon, or the Battlefield series, but unless you’re playing Journey you won’t find anyone rooting for your cause.
The incentive just isn’t there.
Helping others may give you a brief feeling of accomplishment in the vein of psychic benefit, but it won’t get you the rifle decal you crave so much .
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Charlie Brooker is no doubt a great journalist, an arguably decent comedian, and has created some fantastic shows about the strange and horrible world of working in television. Not just that: he also created Black Mirror, a TV show about what technology has done and might do in the future, should we continue to be so reliant on it. It’s a wonderfully dark and miserable place which tickles me pink.
One idea that seems to have slipped Brooker’s mind, though, is Gameswipe. Gameswipe’s first and only episode aired on 29th September 2009 in the UK, so it perplexes me as to why he’s so hesitant to create another. Here’s a list of 5 reasons why Charlie Brooker should make Gameswipe: Part 2 in the not-too-distant future.
5. The Guests
The guests alone are enough of a reason to run to the BBC trousers down and start shooting. Each of Charlie Brooker’s shows – be that Screenwipe, 2012wipe or Weekly Wipe – have had some great people nattering on about something or another. Take Doug Stanhope (one of my favourite comedians), who is brilliant to have on television as he has such a drunken view on life. And it’s the same with Gameswipe: Rab and Ryan from Consolevania – two people I identify with because they loathe what gaming’s become – were downright hilarious.
You can see they have such passion for the industry and it’s nice to see gaming and gamers being represented by people who can string a sentence together without the need of Speak & Spell. It’s also beneficial for non-gamers to watch, so they can understand we’re not all avid players of COD or some other war hungry game and aren’t just waiting for that opportune moment to commence another school shooting.
Adding to that, there isn’t a shortage of journalists and gamers who would like to appear on the show and shout about gamers for five minutes… so… maybe fling me an email. Man, I’m pathetic.
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The unprecedented fan backlash that emerged following the release of Mass Effect 3 early last year had a number of unforeseen consequences in the world of videogame journalism. Most immediately it revealed a stark and needlessly hostile division between the gaming press and a subsection of their readership; but it further exposed some rather complicated interrelations between those critics and the publishers they are tasked with reviewing.
In the wake of the negative fan response to Mass Effect 3, many in the press condemned those unhappy with the ending presented by Bioware as ‘entitled whiners’, describing them as indulged consumers who, in their opinion, threatened to irreparably damage the legitimacy of videogames as an artistic medium. In the opinion rant offered by Colin Moriarty (Playstation editor for IGN), his ferocious, infantile attack even refused any fan even the basic right to express their dissatisfaction once their purchase had been made.
You either admit you liked it (as he did), or shut the hell up.
Frequently, these arguments boiled down to a variation of one rhetorical plea: how can games be considered Art if the audience dares to question the absolutism of its creator’s vision? It is a premise that embraced a reductive, narrow illogic that fundamentally misunderstood the whole history of art; but more than that, it revealed a self-righteous indignation at the heart of the gaming press itself.
After all, it was they in the press themselves who had spent years hyperbolically parroting the promises of Bioware’s publicity machine, ensuring player’s that, yes indeed, their choices would matter, that they would help shape the ending that they chose. Indeed, in an extraordinary amount of cases, it was they themselves that had repeated these very sentiments in their reviews of the game (your choices matter; you define your ending; you decide your fate), and yet they immediately sought to discredit the fans who wanted to question those statements after making their purchase and finding it a distinctly different experience from the one promised.
But as many in the games media shook their collective heads in disappointment, lamenting that their audience was failing to live up to their expectations, the heightened scrutiny that this controversy stirred soon revealed some rather glaring omissions and conflicts of interest – few of which had been previously disclosed – all of which left the moral high ground from which they clucked their tongues a little unstable beneath their feet.
After all, Jessica Chobot, one of the principle representatives of gaming site IGN (one of Bioware’s most vocal supporters throughout), actually appeared as a character in Mass Effect 3, muddying the journalistic distance one might hope for in a publication’s criticism or review. Indeed, it was a decision that made the ferocious screed Moriarty spewed at disgruntled fans appear a little personal. (At the very least it threw a glaring suspicion over his ugly, and weirdly wounded vitriol.)
Similarly, the majority of reviewers of Mass Effect 3 were sent copies that could not import decisions from previous save games meaning that they had no way of speaking to what is arguably the central conceit of the game experience (a fact many did not disclose in their copy), with consequentially few (if any) speaking of the face import issues that spoiled the experience for a great number of players.
And amongst innumerable other such examples, the publication Game Informerwas happy to publish pre-release quotes such as Case Hudson’s promises of no ‘A, B, or C ending’ in expansive, gushing advertorial articles, while going on to not only fail to question the hypocrisies in such promises in their 10/10 review, but actively dismiss fans who questioned such contradiction after the fact.*
Sadly, however, incidents such as these have proved to be merely the tip of the iceberg in an industry that appears to lack the necessary objectivity that a word like ‘journalism’ necessitates. As even a cursory exploration of the medium’s press reveals, in just the past several months a startling amount of evidence has surfaced that suggests that the relationship between publisher and reviewer has become, at times, uncomfortably cosy, with the average reader left unable to disentangle what is unsolicited analysis, and what is coerced, encouraged, or influenced by the very publishers who are supposedly being critiqued.**
* Jeff Gerstmann gave a negative review to Kane & Lynchand was summarily fired by Gamespot who caved to Sony’s threats to pull their advertising and exclusives. The reasoning offered for his termination was that he ‘couldn’t be trusted’ to be an Editorial Director.
* At the most recent GMAs, gaming journalists were offered the chance to win a Playstation 3 console if they Tweeted advertising for the upcoming Tomb Raider game. When a Eurogamer’s Robert Florence questioned whether or not such a practice was above board considering that they were meant to be the critics, not the cheerleaders of these products, he was fired.
* Publishers routinely send swag to reviewers as ‘gifts’ to accompany the review copies of their games – things like pens, clothing, crazy expensive chess sets, and offer expenses-paid ‘preview’ excursions to hotels and events.
* Activision blackballed Gameplanet, refusing them interviews with the makers of their games, because they wrote (extraordinarily briefly) about one such junket in which Activision invited a bunch of gaming journalists to an exclusive all-expenses paid hotel event, questioning the legitimacy of such an advertising technique.
* Sony felt comfortable threatening Kotaku with blackballing when they tried to report on an upcoming Sony service, even emailing them some borderline extortion menace that included the lines: ‘I am very disappointed that after trying to work with you as closely as possible and provide you and your team with access and information, you chose to report on this rumor…. I can’t defend outlets that can’t work cooperatively with us. / So, it is for this reason, that we will be canceling all further interviews for Kotaku staff at GDC and will be dis-inviting you to our media event next Tuesday. Until we can find a way to work better together, information provided to your site will only be that found in the public forum.’
* Electronic Arts seemingly sought to manipulate reviews of Battlefield 3 in Norway by withholding review copies to reviewers that gave bad reviews to previous installments, and forcing reviewers to fill out questionnaires about what they might score it.
So to summarise: confirmed cases of obscuration, extortion, enticement, coercion, all in a systemised ongoing blur between advertising and criticism…
Many in the games industry claim that such actions are uncharacteristic and minor aberrations in an otherwise ethically sound field. They would argue that it is unjust to look upon such incidents as anything more than the misbehaviour of a misguided few who stepped way over the line and were swiftly corrected; but to me, dismissing them as isolated events completely at odds with the standard practice of this field is highly disingenuous. Rather, these events are evidence of an ongoing systemic pattern of behaviour that has shown no signs of cessation or legitimate regulation.
The firing of Robert Florence happened only months ago – and that decision has not been reversed. Sony’s and Activision’s bully tactics appear to be ongoing – or at least have adapted over time. Game publishers continue to send swag to reviewers along with copies of their game; still preview their games in exclusive expenses-paid junkets; and utilise their marketing divisions to determine which outlet will be provided what level of access and which exclusives.
While I agree that people need to exercise reason and personal assessment in their purchasing, to pretend that the division between PR and critique in this industry has not been inextricably blurred, to dismiss the reality that there are few (if any) places to seek out analysis that has not been clouded by the uncomfortably close relationship of publishers and reviewers, is wilfully naive.
While it is not (and is never) as simple an arrangement as ‘I will give you this ludicrous, expensive chess set and you will give me a great score for my game…’ it is instead a system of comingled marketing and analysis has become so engrained – indeed, so expected – that the discerning consumer looking on is now incapable of reasonably drawing a line between what is unsolicited, honest review, and what has been swayed by an undisclosed familiarity with the publisher.
There are innumerable means of influence and persuasion – and yes, they are a part of every business that employs advertising to survive – but when it is common industry practice to ply games journalists with merchandise to invite them to linger longer upon, or think better of a game***, and then those very same people are later tasked with the analysis of that finished product, a line has been crossed that I believe must be considered with reservation. (And again: the recent game-journalists-tweeting-publicity-to-win-a- PS3 scenario is a worrying product of a system that currently appears to be functioning without strict regulation.)
Indeed, the fact that the ‘reviewers’ of games are thought of as potential advertising opportunities in such a manner – potential billboards that can be won over and utilised to spread product awareness – is precisely the issue that makes trusting any opinion offered by these figures suspect. Roger Ebert may get free tickets to the films he reviews, but he is not pictured wearing a Spiderman 6: Rise of the Arbitrary Sequel hoodie at the time; he won’t be denied access to interviews with directors and programmers if he slags off a movie (because publicity is not part of his purview); and the advertising that keeps his job afloat comes from a more diverse field of companies than merely the makers of those film themselves.
When I disagree with Roger Ebert – and I frequently do (the man loved Speed 2) – I do so because it is his personal perspective that I conflict with, not the entire perpetuation of the publicity/critique system that he works within. At present those divisions have not yet been established firmly enough in this medium – and until they are, until such gratis gifts and payed, wooing previews are the exception rather than the rule, such scepticism will, by necessity, always persist.
So no, this is not a field swimming in fraud and dishonesty, but it is hardly a paragon of incorruptible principle, either – and when onlookers of the whole Mass Effectsaga see two facts: ’75 perfect scores’, alongside a player Metacritic score of 1.5, I think a little more scepticism on both sides is healthy.
*And Game Informer(a publication owned by GameStop) announced that Mass Effect 3 was their Game of the Year for 2012 on the very same page that they advertised the release date and details of the ‘New Wii-U edition!’
** And an article like this one by Erik Kain at Forbes is an extraordinary (and rather disheartening) place to start.
*** Ninja Stan, a moderator on the Bioware forum who has previously worked for Bioware (and with whom I had the original discussion that evolved into this rant), confirmed that Bioware, like innumerable other publishers, has routinely employed techniques such as supplying free beer to games journalists at events like PAX in order to entice them to linger longer at their booths and think more favourably of their games.
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