Dec. 19, 2013 | 1:59 p.m.
In this time when news is disseminated ever more quickly, The Times asked its critics to list the best of entertainment and culture in 2013 in tweet form. Here are Todd Martens’ selections for the best video games of the year, presented in 140 characters or less. “Gone Home.” (PC, Mac) The family is away, but their secrets are hidden throughout the home. A reminder that everyday drama makes the best fiction. “Papers, Please.” (PC, Mac) Overworked, stressed-out, underpaid, disrespected. The grind? Familiar. The Eastern Bloc immigration setting? Gripping. “Super Mario 3D World.” (Wii U) Mario, only weirder. Here, sport a cat suit to claw, meow and pounce through a crazy, colorful world. Cats! “The Stanley Parable.” (PC, Mac) An ordinary cubicle life is thrown upside down. Imagine if our lives were narrated and directed by Spike Jonze. “Fire Emblem: Awakening.” (3DS) Dragons, swordsmen, wizards. […]
Dec. 19, 2013 | 11:16 a.m.
Stressing out about a last-minute gift idea for the Trekkie, Time Lord or Jedi Padawan in your life? Look no further — Hero Complex’s annual holiday gift guide has you covered. This year’s guide, introduced on Thanksgiving, includes a wide range of geek-friendly selections from the worlds of science-fiction, fantasy, horror and comics. Is your TV-loving pal a “Game of Thrones” fan? Perhaps a plush direwolf or a 3-D puzzle map of Westeros will satisfy the wannabe-Stark in your life. Are you shopping for someone as strong and fair as Lady Sif? Check out the “Thor”-inspired lightning bolt and hammer earrings. Is there a pint-sized Whovian in your household? The Dalek Mr. Potato Head might make for the perfect stocking stuffer. Other selections in the Hero Complex holiday gift guide include items from “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” “Marvel’s […]
Dec. 16, 2013 | 12:07 p.m.
The first trailer for the upcoming “Lego The Hobbit” video game is out, revealing a comedic take on Middle-earth and its small-statured denizens. The game, which was announced in November, will be based on the first two films in Peter Jackson’s planned “Hobbit” trilogy — “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and the recently released “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” Like TT Games‘ previous Middle-earth-themed installation “Lego The Lord of the Rings,” gameplay in “The Hobbit” will focus on solving puzzles, finding treasure and battling dark forces, including orcs, trolls and goblins. PHOTOS: 60 images from ‘Desolation of Smaug’ Gamers will be able to play as Bilbo (portrayed in the films by Martin Freeman), Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and all 13 dwarfs in the company. The trailer also features scenes with the cave-dwelling Gollum, hungry trolls, mischievous goblins and […]
Dec. 09, 2013 | 10:52 a.m.
Telltale Games will in 2014 release an episodic video game inspired by HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” the hit series based on George R.R. Martin’s ”A Song of Ice and Fire” series. Confirmed for release on PC/Mac and mobile devices, the game is the first unveiled as part of a what was described in a release as a multi-year, multi-title partnership between Telltale and HBO Global Licensing. Plot and characters were not yet revealed, but Telltale principals Dan Connors and Kevin Bruner said the game will take its lead from the television series rather than Martin’s books. “The book is a great resource to understand the decisions that they made on the show and how rich the world is,” said Connors in unveiling the game on Spike TV’s “VGX” program on Saturday. “VGX” is a retooled version of the station’s video game awards […]
Nov. 28, 2013 | 12:19 p.m.
You don’t have to take your broom to Diagon Alley, cross the Bifrost, traverse the Misty Mountains or steal a vortex manipulator to find the perfect gift for the Trekkie, Whovian or Westerosi-wannabe in your life. We’ve done the looking for you in our annual Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or another gamer, a comics enthusiast or film buff, we’ve got you covered. Click through the gallery above for a peek at our selections. Items are listed below, sorted by cost. Happy shopping, and happy holidays! Under $25 Millenium Falcon guitar pick, $2.49: Here’s a song for you: The Millenium Falcon, it’s a smugglers’ ship. It can make the Kessel Run in “less than 12 parsecs.” Han Solo and Lando Calrissian use it, but neither has it as pick to strum and make rebel music. […]
Nov. 27, 2013 | 2:03 p.m.
This month saw the release of two high-end home video game consoles from Sony and Microsoft. But competitor and long-standing game powerhouse Nintendo has a surprisingly effective countermove: cats. Yes, cats. The Italian caricatures of Mario and Luigi, who may be the closest thing the video game medium has to a Mickey and Minnie when it comes to brand awareness, have returned in the Wii U exclusive “Super Mario 3D World,” now with the ability to morph into feline form. It’s one tweak among many, and it turns out that putting paws on the plumbers more than livens up a trusty formula. Mario and Luigi now chase rabbits, climb trees and attack enemies with claws out, a number of seemingly small design changes that when taken as a whole results in one of the more inventive Mario adventures. Like the […]
Nov. 25, 2013 | 4:43 p.m.
Bilbo Baggins and his short-statured traveling companions are joining forces against Lego baddies in a new video game. “Lego The Hobbit,” from TT Games, will be based on the first two films in Peter Jackson’s planned “Hobbit” trilogy — “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and the upcoming “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” The family-friendly take on the franchise will offer gamers of all ages the ability to play as Bilbo (portrayed in the films by Martin Freeman), Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and all 13 dwarfs in the company. The game features Lego versions of key locations from the films, including Bag End, Bilbo’s Hobbit hole, the Misty Mountains, Mirkwood, Rivendell and more. Like the previous Middle-earth-themed installation “Lego The Lord of the Rings,” the Hobbit gameplay will focus on solving puzzles, finding treasure and battling dark forces, including […]
Nov. 21, 2013 | 9:44 a.m.
The Xbox One hits stores on Friday, and the reviews are pouring in. Game critics are weighing the pros and cons of Microsoft’s next-generation video game console, and, much like last week’s reaction to Sony’s PlayStation 4, the reviews are overall positive, with a few notable shortcomings. Critics praised the Xbox One’s ambition, its relatively seamless integration into existing media centers, its launch game lineup and its potential as an all-encompassing media hub, while complaining about its seemingly uncreative console design and several flaws with the Kinect’s voice-recognition capabilities. Reviews were divided on the elegance and functionality of its new user interface. The Times’ own Todd Martens notes that the PS4 and the Xbox One focus on different aspects of a video game console’s potential. “Their presentation — the arguments they put forth about how games can and should be […]
Nov. 20, 2013 | 5:07 p.m.
With the release of the PlayStation 4 and XBox One consoles a week apart, the few undecided gamers who haven’t thrown their support behind one console or the other may have given rise to Machinima’s newest mini-movie, “The Console War.” The piece starts off with Master Chief, a popular character from XBox’s “Halo” franchise, taking out Kratos, a popular character from PlayStation’s “God of War” series. It’s a battle that parallels consumer console wars that are sure to erupt during this holiday season when the new generation of consoles — including 2012′s WiiU — will be pitted against one another. The video only focuses on PS4 and XBox though, and follows Machinima’s narrative productions of “Halo Reach,” “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” (and the sequel), as well as live-action fan pieces like the Skyrim project and the “Dead Island” video game trailer. […]
Nov. 20, 2013 | 5:00 a.m.
“Go ahead,” the screen on Microsoft’s Xbox One will tell you, “say ‘Xbox.’” “No,” you may very well think, “I am an adult, and I will not talk to my video-game console.” Oh, but you will. That’s because Microsoft’s $500 all-in-one entertainment system is the first video-game console ever made that can utilize your voice to go from zero to playing Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video in 47 seconds. One simple command, “Xbox on,” brings your hardware and television to life; three more commands and you’re on YouTube watching her get fierce with a sledgehammer — all without pressing a button. The Xbox One terms such ability “automagical,” and while that’s a marketing buzzword that probably shouldn’t be attached to anything that doesn’t involve Tinker Bell, it’s admittedly pretty neat. But what does it have to do with games? Well, […]