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The Ten Best Narrative Video Game Masterpieces

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by Tyler Treat Jan 5, 2010 8:01 PM CST
filed under features, pc, ps2, ps3, top 10, xbox, xbox 360

Every so often, a game comes along with a story that truly blows us away. We're very thankful for these games, for they help us get through our mundane job of playing video games, specifically all the crappy ones that no one else wants to play. That's why we thought it would be appropriate to give the best of these games the recognition they deserve. This list only includes 10 games. Not because there's only ten games with excellent narrative experiences, but because ten just seems like a good number, and I don't feel like writing a list of 100 titles (call me lazy or call me smart, either would be correct). There may have been hair-pulling and fist-throwing during the selection process, but we believe we have come up with a very strong list of narrative masterpieces -- not definitive, but damn good.

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Top 10 Sequels of 2010

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by James Pikover Dec 31, 2009 11:27 AM CST
filed under features, pc, ps3, top 10, xbox 360

This last week, we released a giant (and growing) list of games that may make 2010 the games industry's biggest year. Yesterday, we showed the top ten new IP's. Today, we're looking at the biggest current franchises to see what the top ten sequels will be!

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Ten New IP’s of 2010 That Will Melt Your Face

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by James Pikover Dec 30, 2009 9:17 PM CST
filed under features, pc, ps3, top 10, wii, xbox 360

We've already shown a huge (and growing) list of games that may make 2010 the biggest year in gaming. Now, here are the top ten new IP's, which may well turn into franchises of their own, of the coming year!

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Top 10 Games That Got Canned

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by Evan Volmering Dec 4, 2009 11:38 PM CST
filed under editorials, features, gamecube, pc, ps2, ps3, top 10, wii, xbox, xbox 360

dukenukem

Within the flood of video games that get released each year, there are a few that don't quite make it. Referred to as "vaporware," these games have such a large and loyal fanbase but are ultimately shelved due to budget constraints or other "internal issues." Others we don't even know about until it's too late. Below are ten games we feel would've been great if they had survived their development woes.

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10 Reasons to Play Mass Effect Again This Thanksgiving

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by James Pikover Nov 26, 2009 1:43 AM CST
filed under editorials, features, pc, top 10, xbox 360

Mass Effect 2 is just around the corner. January! It’s hard to believe after waiting so long for the sequel to the greatest “space opera” we’ve ever played. But what to do until then?

Play Mass Effect over Thanksgiving, obviously! Honestly, Thanksgiving is four-and-a-half days off, and who wants to spend it with family? Yuck! Instead, here’s ten reasons you should pop Mass Effect back into your 360/PC in preparation for the sequel. (more...)

Top 10 Half-Life Mods of All Time

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by Tyler Treat Nov 20, 2009 1:07 AM CST
filed under editorials, features, pc, top 10

hl

The Half-Life franchise has the biggest mod community of any game. We’ve seen some amazing mods created by independent developers, some of them have grown to become major titles themselves. Here’s our list of the top 10 best Half-Life/Half-Life 2 mods ever.

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Top 10 Video Game Industry Celebrities

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by Staff Nov 5, 2009 12:58 PM CST
filed under editorials, features, top 10

Larry Hryb
Microsoft’s Larry Hryb, better known as Xbox Live’s Major Nelson, plays a leading role in the world of Xbox. Despite his title as Xbox Live Director of Programming, Hryb is more widely known as the voice of all things Xbox.
Hryb is a graduate of Syracuse University. He was a programmer and on-air host with radio broadcaster Clear Channel Communications prior to taking his position at Microsoft in 2004.
With his popular blog and weekly “blogcast,” Major Nelson provides insight and inside information regarding the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live platform to gamers worldwide.
Shigeru Miyamoto
Shigeru Miyamoto is arguably the most influential video game designer ever. He’s been labeled as the “father of modern video games” and “the Walt Disney of electronic gaming.” Miyamoto is the mastermind behind numerous mega-franchises, such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Star Fox, and a number of other big titles.
He says he works on nearly a dozen games at a time, collaborating with hundreds of people. Despite this, he prefers to focus on games in order when possible. It’s known that Miyamoto has forced Nintendo to delay major titles in order to produce a game of the highest quality possible, even if it meant scrapping the entire project.
Miyamoto has received many awards for his efforts in the gaming industry, and did we mention he’s a semi-professional dog breeder?
Will Wright
Will Wright founded Maxis (which is now owned by EA) in 1987. Wright was brought to prominence in the industry for his creation of SimCity; however, his most popular creation was The Sims series, which is the best-selling PC game to date.
As a child, Wright was an avid builder of models, and he has often described himself as obsessive in his pursuits. His first game was for the Commodore 64. Wright believes that computers extend the imagination.
Wright received countless awards for his work. His latest game was Spore, which focused on the concept evolution. It sold 406,000 copies in the first three weeks of its release.
Gabe Newell
Would you guess that the co-founder of the powerhouse developer Valve was a Harvard dropout? Meet Mr. Gabe Newell. Prior to founding Valve, Newell worked at Microsoft for 13 years. He left Microsoft in order to start the game studio. When the studio was formed in 1996, Newell expected his venture to produce one “mediocre game” and then it'd all be over. The studio’s first title was a little game called Half-Life. You might have heard of it. Newell is responsible for much of the effort that has gone into Valve’s titles like Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, Portal, as well as the developer’s game platform Steam.
Cliff Bleszinski
Informally, Cliff Bleszinski (aka CliffyB, aka, Cliffster, aka Dude Huge) is the poster boy of Epic Games. Formally, he’s the design director for the studio. He’s most well known for his work on the Unreal and Gears of War franchises.
Bleszinski’s first game was an adventure game for PC called The Palace of Deceit: Dragon's Plight, which he made in 1991. He’s also known for being the lead designer on the platformer Jazz Jackrabbit. Bleszinski will also be an executive producer on the Gears of War movie.
Peter Moore
Peter Moore is best known a number of things:  His dedication to Halo 2, amazing Rock Band skills, and oh yeah, being the former VP of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division.  Moore had only been with Microsoft for 4 years, after being brought aboard in 2003 to help the original Xbox compete with the PlayStation 2 and Gamecube.  Considering it was their first game console he did a pretty good job at Microsoft.  His experience with the Sega Dreamcast is what sparked CEO Steve Ballmer to hire him.Things seemed to be going pretty good at Microsoft in mid-2007, and their E3 conference was one of the better of the three major companies.  Despite however bad Moore's Rock Band presentation was, it proved to be great entertainment.  So it was rather shocking, at least to us, to see him leave Microsoft for EA's Sports division.  He announced it just 5 days after hosting Microsoft's E3 conference on July 11, 2007.  Since then we haven't heard too much from him.  Last we heard he was pretty happy with how FIFA 10 was selling in Japan.When Moore joined Microsoft he brought with him more than 20 years of experience and leadership in the consumer business.  While at Sega, Moore played a pivotal role in the companies decision to change its business strategy to become a platform-agnostic software publisher.  He was also the senior vice president, meaning he was responsible for all marketing initiatives.  Along with this experience, he also holds a bachelor's degree from Keele University, United Kingdom, and a master's degree from California State University, Long Beach.So it's safe to say EA hired an experienced man, but why did Moore pick EA?  More specifically, why the sports division?  Well, one can't help but wonder if it has to do with his previous employment, before working with Sega.  Before joining Sega, Moore was actually president of Patrick USA, a popular  sportswear company that originated in France.  He managed all the companies operations, including marketing, sales, finance and distribution.  So, in a way, Moore has come “full circle”.Reggie Fils-Aime, as many of you know, is the President and CEO of Nintendo of America.  He's undoubtedly known for stating “My name is Reggie. I'm about kickin' ass, I'm about takin' names, and we're about makin' games.” during Nintendo's E3 presentation in 2004.Before joining Nintendo, Reggie Fils-Aime was actually the Senior Director of National Marketing at Pizza Hut, launching the Bigfoot Pizza and The Big New Yorker soon-thereafter.  He then moved onto Guinness, taking on Head of Marketing in the United States and then becoming the Chief Marketing Officer of Derby Cycle Corporation.  He was also briefly the Managing Director of Raleigh U.K, Derby's British Operations in 1999.Fils-Aime was also Senior Vice President of Panda Express, the world's leading Chinese food service provider.  In April of 2001 he was then appointed Senior Vice President of marketing at VH1, charged with overseeing efforts for the flagship, and was credited for a 30% increase in ratings by refocusing the channel's content to appeal to a younger audience.  So after tackling beer, pizza and Chinese food, venturing into the games industry only seemed logical.In 2003 he joined Nintendo as their Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and in May of 2006 became the President and CEO of Nintendo of America, which is his current position.  His future?  Unknown, but his specialty seems to be in marketing, so I'd be surprised to see him stray far from his profession.Hideo Kojima is a name I'm sure most of you are familiar.  You've heard his name thrown around whenever people bring the industries most influential and/or important game creators, and rightfully so.  Kojima is currently Executive Corporate Officer Director of Kojima Productions, and formerly the Vice President of Konami Computer Entertainment Japan.  He'd credited with creating the highly-successful Metal Gear series, along with Snatcher and Policenauts.His first released game was Metal Gear for the MSX2 in 1987.  Before that, however, he had worked on a game called Penguin Adventure as assistant director and then Lost Warld in 1986.  The former was never released, being rejected by Konami.  Kojima has often criticized Metal Gear for the MSX2 due to the changes Konami has made it to it prior to release.  In 1988 he then made Snatcher, a graphic adventure game heavily influenced by Blade Runner for both the NEC PC-8801 and MSX2.It wasn't until the 1990s however that Kojima found fame.  In 1990 he worked on a RPG spinoff of Snatcher called SD Snatcher, and then Metal Gear 2: Solid Snaker, both for the MSX2.  In 1992 he remade Snatcher for the TurboGrafx-16 that included voice acting, then in 1994 released Policenauts, a film noir adventure game set in a space colony for the PC.  In 1998 Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation was released, and the world then knew who Hideo Kojima was.  He became an international celebrity due to Metal Gear Solid's 3D graphics, voice acting and well-designed gameplay.The subsequent sequels and spinoffs to Metal Gear Solid(26 altogether) have only solidified Kojimas presence in the gaming industry, and in 2008 he received a lifetime achievement award at the MTV Game Awards in Germany.  During his speech he stated “I have to say, even though I received this award, let me state that I will not retire.  I will continue to create games as long as I live.”  The announcement of Metal Gear Solid: Rising during this year's E3 pretty much confirms this.  While he's stepped down from being the lead director of the MGS series, he will undoubtedly still have input on any future entries.Peter Molyneux has given us games such as Populous, Black and White, Fable and a slew of others I'm sure most of you have at least heard of, if not played.  But as gamers he's mostly known for his ability to hype a game beyond our, possibily even his wildest dreams.  I'm sure we  all remember his claim of Fable II as being his “best, most complete game I've ever worked on”, or how it “will set the standard for which all RPG's are compared.”  By now everyone knows this wasn't true, at least his statement about setting the standard for future RPG's.Before Molyneux turned into a hype-machine he sold floppy discs for Atari and the Commodore 64 that contained video games.  He believed that by including games on the discs it would improve sales, and later decided that they were the main selling point.  I think he was onto something way back in 1982.He created a text-based business simulation game called The Entrepreneur in 1984, selling a whopping 2 copies, one of which may have been from Molyneux's own mother.  The failure of The Entrepreneur made Molyneux step away from gaming for a while, and started a company called Taurus Impact Systems that designed office databases.  Using the money he got from Taurus Impact Systems, he and Les Edgar founded Bullfrog Productions in 1987 and released Populous in 1989.Molyneux became an Electronic Arts vice-president and consultant in 1994, and in 1995 EA acquired Bullfrog Productions.  In 1997 Molyneux left Bullfrog and founded Lionhead Studios, which was eventually bought by Microsoft Game Studios in 2006, which he then became the Creative Director of in June of this year, though he will still produce games with Lionhead.  He's currently working on Fable III, which I'm sure we'll hear quite a bit about, along with 'Milo' for Project Natal.I must clarify that this list isn't based on those who are most liked in the industry.  Bobby Kotick is probably one of the most hated people in the industry right now, at least by gamers.  Why?  Because of his stance on the process of creating a game and video games in general.  Kotick is currently the CEO and President of Activision Blizzard, though he was previously the CEO of 4Kids Entertainment and served as a founder of International Consumer Technologies, whom he was president of from 1986 to 1995.From March of 2003 to August of 2008 he was also a Yahoo! Board member and was also a board member for the Center for Early Education, the LA County Museum of Art and the Tony Hawk Foundation.  It all sounds innocent, right?  Keep reading.When asked why Activision Blizzard chose not to publish certain games following the Activision/Blizzard merger, he stated that focusing on certain franchises that "have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with clear sequel potential and have the potential to become $100 million franchises" has "worked very well for [Activision Blizzard]".  He also stated that if it were up to him, he'd raise the prices of controllers for games such as the Guitar Hero franchise.During a 2009 speech he stated “We have a real culture of thrift. The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games”, and that he tries to promote an atmosphere of "skepticism, pessimism, and fear.”  Though, he did want Sony to release the PlayStation 3 at a lower price.  So perhaps he does have a soul.  Either way, I don't see gamers liking him anytime soon.
Peter Moore is best known a number of things:  His dedication to Halo 2, amazing Rock Band skills, and oh yeah, being the former VP of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division.  Moore had only been with Microsoft for 4 years, after being brought aboard in 2003 to help the original Xbox compete against the PlayStation 2 and Gamecube.  Considering it was their first game console he did a pretty good job at Microsoft.
Things seemed to be going pretty good for Microsoft in mid-2007, and their E3 conference was one of the better of the three major companies. Despite however bad Moore's Rock Band presentation was, it proved to be great entertainment.  So it was rather shocking, at least to us, to see him leave Microsoft for EA's Sports division.  He announced his departure just 5 days after hosting Microsoft's E3 conference on July 11, 2007.
When Moore joined Microsoft he brought with him more than 20 years of experience and leadership in the consumer business.   His experience with the Sega Dreamcast is what sparked CEO Steve Ballmer to hire him.  While at Sega, Moore played a pivotal role in the companies decision to change its business strategy to become a platform-agnostic software publisher.  He was also the senior vice president, meaning he was responsible for all marketing initiatives.  Along with this experience, he also holds a bachelor's degree from Keele University, United Kingdom, and a master's degree from California State University, Long Beach.
So it's safe to say EA hired an experienced man, but why did Moore pick EA?  More specifically, why the sports division?  Well, one can't help but wonder if it has to do with his previous employment, before working with Sega.  Before joining Sega, Moore was actually president of Patrick USA, a popular  sportswear company that originated in France.  He managed all the companies operations, including marketing, sales, finance and distribution.  So, in a way, he has come “full circle”.  Since his departure from Microsoft we haven't seen too much from Moore.  Last we heard he was pretty happy with how FIFA 10 was selling in Japan.
Reggie Fils-Aime
Reggie Fils-Aime, as many of you know, is the President and CEO of Nintendo of America.  He shot to fame by stating “My name is Reggie. I'm about kickin' ass, I'm about takin' names, and we're about makin' games.” during Nintendo's E3 presentation in 2004.
Before joining Nintendo, Reggie Fils-Aime was actually the Senior Director of National Marketing at Pizza Hut, launching the Bigfoot Pizza and The Big New Yorker soon-thereafter.  He then moved onto Guinness, taking on Head of Marketing in the United States and then becoming the Chief Marketing Officer of Derby Cycle Corporation.  He was also briefly the Managing Director of Raleigh U.K, Derby's British Operations in 1999.
Fils-Aime was also Senior Vice President of Panda Express, the world's leading Chinese food service provider.  In April of 2001 he was then appointed Senior Vice President of marketing at VH1, charged with overseeing efforts for the flagship, and was credited for a 30% increase in ratings by refocusing the channel's content to appeal to a younger audience.  So after tackling beer, pizza and Chinese food, venturing into the games industry only seemed logical.
In 2003 he joined Nintendo as their Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and in May of 2006 became the President and CEO of Nintendo of America, which is his current position.  His future?  Unknown, but his specialty seems to be in marketing, so I'd be surprised to see him stray far from his profession.
Hideo Kojima
Hideo Kojima is a name I'm sure most of you are familiar with.  You've heard his name thrown around whenever people bring up the industries most influential or important game creators, and rightfully so.  Kojima is currently Executive Corporate Officer Director of Kojima Productions, and formerly the Vice President of Konami Computer Entertainment Japan.  He's credited with creating the highly-successful Metal Gear series, along with Snatcher and Policenauts.
His first released game was Metal Gear for the MSX2 in 1987.  Before that, however, he had worked on a game called Penguin Adventure as assistant director and then Lost Warld in 1986.  The former was never released after being rejected by Konami.  Kojima has often criticized Metal Gear for the MSX2 due to the changes Konami had made it to it prior to release.  In 1988 he then made Snatcher, a graphic adventure game heavily influenced by Blade Runner for both the NEC PC-8801 and MSX2.
It wasn't until the 1990s however that Kojima found fame.  In 1990 he worked on a RPG spinoff of Snatcher called SD Snatcher, and then Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, both for the MSX2.  In 1992 he remade Snatcher for the TurboGrafx-16 that included voice acting, then in 1994 released Policenauts, a film noir adventure game set in a space colony for the PC.  In 1998 Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation was released, and the world then knew who Hideo Kojima was.  He became an international celebrity due to Metal Gear Solid's 3D graphics, voice acting and well-designed gameplay.
The subsequent sequels and spinoffs to Metal Gear Solid(26 altogether) have only solidified Kojimas presence in the gaming industry, and in 2008 he received a lifetime achievement award at the MTV Game Awards in Germany.  During his speech he stated “I have to say, even though I received this award, let me state that I will not retire.  I will continue to create games as long as I live.”  The announcement of Metal Gear Solid: Rising during this year's E3 pretty much confirms this.  While he's stepped down from being the lead director of the MGS series, he will undoubtedly still have input on any future entries.
Peter Molyneux
Peter Molyneux has given us games such as Populous, Black and White, Fable and a slew of others I'm sure most of you have at least heard of, if not played.  But as gamers he's mostly known for his ability to hype a game beyond our, and possibily even his wildest dreams.  I'm sure we  all remember his claim of Fable II being his “best, most complete game I've ever worked on”, or how it “will set the standard for which all RPG's are compared.”  By now everyone knows this wasn't true, at least his statement about setting the standard for future RPG's.
Before Molyneux turned into a hype-machine he sold floppy discs for Atari and the Commodore 64 that contained video games.  He believed that by including games on the discs it would improve sales, and later decided that they were the main selling point.  I think he was onto something way back in 1982.
He created a text-based business simulation game called The Entrepreneur in 1984, selling a whopping 2 copies, one of which may have been from Molyneux's own mother.  The failure of The Entrepreneur made Molyneux step away from gaming for a while, and started a company called Taurus Impact Systems that designed office databases.  Using the money he got from Taurus Impact Systems, he and Les Edgar founded Bullfrog Productions in 1987 and released Populous in 1989.
Molyneux became an Electronic Arts vice-president and consultant in 1994, and in 1995 EA acquired Bullfrog Productions.  In 1997 Molyneux left Bullfrog and founded Lionhead Studios, which was eventually bought by Microsoft Game Studios in 2006.  In June of this year he then became the Creative Director of Microsoft Game Studios, though he will still produce games with Lionhead.  He's currently working on Fable III, which I'm sure we'll hear quite a bit about, along with 'Milo' for Project Natal.
Bobby Kotick
I must clarify that this list isn't based on likability.  Bobby Kotick is probably one of the most hated people in the industry right now, at least by gamers.  Why?  Because of his stance on the process of creating a games and video games in general.  Kotick is currently the CEO and President of Activision Blizzard, though he was previously the CEO of 4Kids Entertainment and served as a founder of International Consumer Technologies, whom he was president of from 1986 to 1995.
From March of 2003 to August of 2008 he was a Yahoo! Board member and was also a board member for the Center for Early Education, the LA County Museum of Art and the Tony Hawk Foundation.  It all sounds innocent, right?  Keep reading.
When asked why Activision Blizzard chose not to publish certain games following the Activision/Blizzard merger in July of 2008 , he stated that focusing on certain franchises that "have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with clear sequel potential and have the potential to become $100 million franchises" has "worked very well for [Activision Blizzard]".  He also stated that if it were up to him, he'd raise the price of controllers for games such as the Guitar Hero franchise.
During a 2009 speech he stated “We have a real culture of thrift. The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games”, and that he tries to promote an atmosphere of "skepticism, pessimism, and fear.”  Though, he did want Sony to release the PlayStation 3 at a lower price.  So perhaps he does have a soul...of sorts...  Either way, I don't see gamers liking him anytime soon.

celebs

From the people who run major corporations to the people who make the games, there's a lot of big names in the video game industry. Many of these big names have even achieved what one could call "celebrity status" because of how well-known they are and how often they're in the news. We went through this list of people and selected those who we believe are the top 10 video game industry celebrities. Here's what we came up with...

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Top 10 Biggest WTF Games of All Time

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by Tyler Treat Oct 29, 2009 3:18 PM CST
filed under editorials, features, top 10

Top 10 Biggest WTF Games of All Time

There are some pretty messed up games out there, so I decided to put together a list of the top 10 games of all time that make you go "WTF?!" Some of them are great games, others...not so great. Regardless, they are all going to make you wonder what the developers were thinking (read: smoking?) when they were making these games. Let's take a look!

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