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Combat Arms Review & Q&A
Broke from the Christmas spending spree? Nexon's free shooter, Combat Arms, is here to help you out. We take a look at it and chat with the developers.

Gifts for Geeks: 24 gift ideas
The holidays are here, and that means gifts -- for both you and others. Here are 24 suggestions that might interest those that like gaming or technology.

Internet Related News

Kickstarter apparently hacked, password change recommended despite no credit card info stolen

4 comments Lydia Sung - 10:34pm (PST) Like Share

Better safe than sorry, always

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In a bit of concerning news, Kickstarter has suffered a security breach. Given how popular the crowdfunding website has become in just a few short years, this is something that undoubtedly affects a lot of people, and so CEO and co-founder Yancey Strickler made a lengthy blog post on the site today, in order to keep their community in the loop.

Kickstarter users are adviced to change their passwords ASAP, and logging into the site now prompts a message stating the same to appear after logging in. While no credit card information was accessed, user information like e-mails, addresses, phone numbers, and encrypted passwords were stolen.

No credit card data of any kind was accessed by hackers. There is no evidence of unauthorized activity of any kind on all but two Kickstarter user accounts.

While no credit card data was accessed, some information about our customers was. Accessed information included usernames, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and encrypted passwords. Actual passwords were not revealed, however it is possible for a malicious person with enough computing power to guess and crack an encrypted password, particularly a weak or obvious one.

Yes, the "encrypted" part is a good thing, but it's not really a guarantee that yours will remain safe, especially if you tend to make obvious passwords. Since Kickstarter understands better than ever now the importance of "better safe than sorry," they're suggesting the password change to account holders.

As a precaution, we strongly recommend that you create a new password for your Kickstarter account, and other accounts where you use this password.

To change your password, log in to your Kickstarter account and look for the banner at the top of the page to create a new, secure password. We recommend you do the same on other sites where you use this password.

Strickler also noted that Facebook login credentials have been reset as a precuation. If you still wish to connect your Facebook account, that remains an option.

Please visit the source below to see more information on the security breach. Seriously, do it.

 
 

Confess your feelings to Pac-Man at last in Namco High

6 comments Leo Chan - 11:35am (PST) Like Share

You might get lucky with a Namco Bandai character this Holiday season

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Namco Bandai's ShiftyLook label is all about bringing the publisher's classic arcade franchises to life through collaboration with artistic talent from across the web, and one of their upcoming projects looks to be their nuttiest yet. ShiftyLook reveals at the San Diego Comic Con 2013 that they will be tapping into the creative direction of Homestuck creator Andrew Hussie to produce a dating sim called Namco High for web browsers.

Yes, a dating sim featuring video game characters from the Namco Bandai multiverse in a high school setting where young love may yet bloom.  You're the protagonist and if you play your cards right, you just might get lucky.  Unfortunately not much else is known about the project including who exactly you will get the chance to unleash your inner Valentino upon, but the game itself will "utilize cutting edge HTML 5-based technology from Date Nighto LLC" for maximum portability across multiple web-capable devices.

Namco High is currently scheduled to go live pre-Holiday 2013.

 
 

Anonymous encourages another Internet blackout on April 22 in protest of CISPA

36 comments Lydia Sung - 7:41pm (PST) Like Share

Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act passes House of Representatives

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No doubt many of you have already heard the news. This week, the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, referred to as "CISPA", passed the House of Representatives, pushing it closer toward possible approval. In response, the hacktivist group Anonymous is calling for an Internet blackout in protest of CISPA.

For those unfamiliar with CISPA, the bill would basically allow ISPs and websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google to share private user information with the U.S. government, regardless of whether the user in question is a U.S. citizen. This exchange would be considered a measure of "cyber-security", likely protecting these sites and the government from privacy lawsuits as well.

A FAQ on the Electronic Frontier Foundation website describes:

"Whenever these prerequisites are met, CISPA is written broadly enough to permit your communications service providers to share your emails and text messages with the government, or your cloud storage company could share your stored files."

So Anonymous hopes that tomorrow, Monday, April 22, the Internet will participate in the second major Internet blackout. They've released a video as well, featuring clips of Hilary Clinton speaking out for online freedom of expression:

In 2012, major websites like Reddit and Wikipedia opted to shut off their services on January 18 in protest of SOPA and PIPA, two bills falling into the realm of Internet censorship, also under the guise of cyber-security.

The gaming industry wasn't unaffected. Riot Entertainment, the studio behind League of Legends, had urged their community to stand against SOPA, while a few publishers were criticized for allegedly supporting SOPA.

Categories: Internet Related
 
 

2012 Spike VGA nominees announced, Journey, Borderlands 2, and Halo 4 lead the way

18 comments Rory Young - 3:14pm (PST) Like Share

The awards that everyone loves to hate

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Spike TV has officially announced their nominations for the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards, the "VGA TEN," to be hosted by Samuel L. Jackson on Friday, December 7. We've got the full list of nominations for you, with Halo 4, Journey and Borderlands 2 each taking 7, but as usual there are certainly some surprises. Also, as most people would expect, Spike has some exclusive game premieres -- this year's include The Last of Us, Gears of War: Judgment, and South Park: The Stick of Truth.

This year, the VGAs are partnered with Xbox (yes, the Video Game Awards are partnered with a company that develops consoles and games that are nominated for awards) to create an interactive awards show. We're all hoping for more holograms, but in reality we're talking about live polls and SmartGlass functionality. Did I mention Microsoft owned developer 343's game Halo 4 picked up 7 nominations? 

Without further adieu, here are the twenty five and more categories for the 2012 VGAs, err, VGA TEN:

Game of the Year

  • Assassin's Creed III
  • Dishonored
  • Journey
  • Mass Effect 3
  • The Walking Dead

Best Action Game

  • Assassin's Creed III
  • Darksiders II
  • Dishonored
  • Sleeping Dogs

Best Shooter

  • Borderlands 2
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  • Halo 4
  • Max Payne 3

Best RPG

  • Diablo III
  • Mass Effect 3
  • Torchlight II
  • Xenoblade Chronicles

Best Multi-Player Game

  • Borderlands 2
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Halo 4

Best Fighting Game

  • Dead or Alive 5
  • Persona 4 Arena
  • Street Fighter X Tekken
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Best Driving Game

  • DiRT: Showdown
  • F1 2012
  • Forza Horizon
  • Need for Speed Most Wanted

Best Team Sports Game

  • FIFA Soccer 13
  • Madden NFL 13
  • NBA 2K13
  • NHL 13

Best Individual Sports Game

  • Hot Shots Golf World Invitational
  • SSX
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13
  • WWE '13

Best Xbox 360 Game

  • Assassin's Creed III
  • Borderlands 2
  • Dishonored
  • Halo 4

Best PS3 Game

  • Assassin's Creed III
  • Borderlands 2
  • Dishonored
  • Journey

Best Wii/Wii U Game

  • New Super Mario Bros. U
  • The Last Story
  • Xenoblade Chronicles
  • ZombiU
Best PC Game
  • Diablo III
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Torchlight II
  • XCOM: Enemy Unkown

Best Handheld/Mobile Game

  • Gravity Rush
  • LittleBigPlanet PS Vita
  • New Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Sound Shapes

Best Social Game

  • Draw Something
  • Marvel: Avengers Alliance
  • SimCity Social
  • You Don't Know Jack
Best Downloadable Game
  • Fez
  • Journey
  • Sound Shapes
  • The Walking Dead

Best DLC

  • Dawnguard - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Leviathan - Mass Effect 3
  • Mechromancer Pack - Borderlands 2
  • Perpetual Testing Initiative - Portal 2

Best Independent Game

  • Dust: An Elysian Tail
  • Fez
  • Journey
  • Mark of the Ninja

Best Adapted Video Game

  • Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
  • Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
  • The Walking Dead
  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

Studio of the Year

  • 343 Industries
  • Arkane Studios
  • Gearbox Software
  • Telltale Games

Most Anticipated Game

  • BioShock Infinite
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth
  • The LAst of Us
  • Tomb Raider

Best Graphics

  • Assassin's Creed III
  • Dishonored
  • Halo 4
  • Journey

Best Song in a Game

  • "Castle of Glass" by Linkin Park - Medal of Honor Warfighter
  • "Cities" by Beck - Sound Shapes
  • "I Was Born For This" by Austin Wintory - Journey
  • "Tears" by Health - Max Payne 3

Best Original Score

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  • Halo 4
  • Journey
  • Max Payne 3

Best Performance by a Human Male

  • Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack - Borderlands 2
  • Dave Fennoy as Lee Everret - The Walking Dead 
  • James Mccaffrey as Max Payne - Max Payne 3
  • Nolan North as Captain Martin Walker - Spec Ops: The Line

Best Performance by a Human Female

  • Emma Stone as Amanda Cartwright - Sleeping Dogs
  • Jen Taylor as Cortana - Halo 4
  • Jennifer Hale as Commander Shepard - Mass Effect 3
  • Melissa Hutchison as Clementine - The Walking Dead

Then, as is a tradition for the VGAs, gamers can also vote on their favorite character of the year:

Character of the Year

  • Connor - Assassin's Creed III
  • Commander Shepard - Mass Effect 3
  • Claptrap - Borderlands 2
  • Master Chief - Halo 4
  • Raul Menendez - Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

There's your VGA nominations from 2012. As per usual, the nominations are put together by the VGA Advisory Council, made up of an assortment of journalists from the largest gaming publications around -- including: Entertainment Weekly, Game Informer, Joystiq, Kotaku, Polygon, IGN, GameTrailersGamespot, Wired.com, USA Today and Associated Press.

VGA TEN airs on December 7 at 9PM EST/6PM PST, watchable on either Spike.com, GameTrailer.tv, through Xbox Live, or on Spike TV, MTV 2, and MTV TR3S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Zynga reportedly offering stock options to keep full-time staff from jumping ship

9 comments Leo Chan - 11:48am (PST) Like Share

Plummeting earnings (and share price) threaten to undermine faith in company

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Zynga, once the media darling of social gaming but now media spectacle following a disappointing fiscal quarter that saw its stock value plummet to a new low, may have reason to fear they've yet to hit the absolute rock-bottom of their predicament.  In an effort to avert a potential exodus of talent admist a backdrop of declining interest in Facebook games, the company behind the 'Ville series of social gaming titles has reportedly offered stock options to all of their full-time employees shortly after its earning report which was issued on July 25.

Company CEO Mark Pincus' decision to offer stock options to around 2,846 full-time staffers is an unprecedented one, given these options give bearers the right to purchase existing Zynga shares, currently valued at around $3 USD each; Zynga's stock originally opened at $10 USD when the company first went public last December.  According to analysts like Sterne Agee & Leach's Arvind Bhatia, the move was nevertheless a "fair thing to do" if Zynga's revised game plan includes boosting employee morale amidst gloomy times.

Zynga themselves have declined to comment on this recent development, though the company is clearly trying to weather the storm as they steer away from Facebook gaming and more toward multiplatform social gaming titles on mobiles and tablets.  The move to mobile strangely warranted pulling COO John Schappert (a former EA and Microsoft executive with experience in gaming) from any further responsibilties of overseeing the company's overall game development.

 
 

Square Enix porting 'Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light' to Google Chrome

1 comments Lydia Sung - 12:39pm (PST) Like Share

At least you won't have to install the game to play

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Square Enix announced today plans to bring Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light to Google Chrome, and frankly, we're a little weirded out. How does all of this work, exactly? The browser version is being developed using Google's Native Client, an open source technology built for safely running native code from a web browser.

This isn't the publisher's first time working with the Chrome platform, at least. In March, they brought Mini Ninjas to the browser, and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light follows up with a Fall 2012 release. Both Guardian of Light and Mini Ninjas debuted as downloadable games on consoles and PC.

In May, Ubisoft released digital title From Dust as a Chrome-exclusive browser game as well.

 
 

[Update] PAX Prime completely sold-out

1 comments Rory Young - 1:12pm (PST) Like Share

Despite some small moments of availability, tickets sell out in one day

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The PAX registration system went live on April 25, it crashed within fifteen minutes. The servers went down, Penny Arcade switched registration vendors, and the servers were brought back up on the morning of May 2.

Later that day, Penny Arcade updated their site with the following message:

"We're shocked to be writing this... but we're completely out of 3-Day badges for PAX Prime 2012. There are still single day passes, and while it's impossible to say how long they will last, it is fair to say "not very long."

But to be perfectly clear: Three-Day passes are gone for good, and the only way to attend PAX is to grab the single day passes that are still available."

Last year it took over 20 days for PAX Prime to sell out of 3-day passes. This year, they sold out in less than 24 hours, including the small amount of time servers were up on April 25. The likelihood of 1-day passes selling out soon is very high.

PAX Prime has added a hotel registration system for attendees. Rather than having to search for individual hotels and comparing rates through a spreadsheet, the new system does all of that for you. This also includes potential savings for exhibitors and groups that reserve two or more rooms.

Congratulations to those who were able to pick up passes before they sold out. Good luck to those who are trying to pick up 1-day passes, or will try their hand at Craigslist or Ebay second-hand tickets. Myself, I might have to try for a media-pass, after I figure out which friends were able to pick up a ticket yesterday.

Update: As @Vapid Soul mentions in the comments, Friday and Saturday daily passes are now sold out as well. Expect Sunday passes to be gone before the day is out.

Update 2: Completely sold out. Scalped tickets are already selling on Ebay for over $200.

Categories: Internet Related
 
 

Registration for PAX Prime opens and crashes, will be back soon

3 comments Rory Young - 12:17pm (PST) Like Share

You've all ruined PAX, I hope you're happy

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Early this morning Penny Arcade snuck open the registration site for PAX Prime 2012, hoping to taper in attendees so the site wouldn't crash. It crashed anyway after about 20 minutes. The PAX staff are working hard to get the site back up and running, so expect registration to come back up sometime soon.

Don't stress too much about buying your tickets as soon as possible. In fact, I'm sure the PAX staff would appreciate you waiting a few days. PAX Prime 2011 took twenty days to sell out of 3-Day Passes. Expect them to sell a little bit quicker this year, but you should still have over two weeks to plan and purchase.

PAX Prime 2012 3-Day Passes will cost $65 and give you full access to the Aug. 31 through Sep. 2 weekend festivities. Single day passes will also be available, as well as passes for the BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) LAN event -- details in the PAX forums. If you're looking for hotel accommodations near to the convention center, read this update:

"Looking for a place to stay? Unfortunately our housing registration system isn't quite ready. If you try to book hotels now, don't be afraid if everything is reserved...it's reserved FOR US. You'll get better luck (and savings) in a week or two when we can push out the hotels system."

If you have any issues or question, the PAX official Twitter account is working overtime. Most of your questions can be answered thusly, "SOON." Get hyped, everyone! PAX is only four months away. Check the source for the official site and registration link -- when it's back up and running.

Categories: Internet Related
 
 

Ken Levine considered for Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World 2012

6 comments Rory Young - 11:25am (PST) Like Share

Levine the only gaming personality considered this year

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In a surprising decision, Ken Levine was selected for TIME magazine's Top 100 Influential People list for 2012. Levine, the creative director for Irrational Games, is known for his work on Thief, System Shock and of course, BioShock. If you're interested in voting for Levine, you can view TIME's poll here.

As far as gaming personalities go, you don't get more passionate and well-spoken than Levine. He's constantly providing interviews, speeches on design, panel discussions and is otherwise available on Twitter. He's personable and a likeable guy, but is he one of the most influential people in gaming and on the planet?

TIME's profile for Ken Levine is almost entirely about the original BioShock, a game made in 2007. There's no argument that BioShock may be one of the most influential games ever, but does that justify Levine's inclusion in this list five years later? Does it extend to the fact that another BioShock game will be released this year? If it reviews poorly does Levine get removed?

Ken Levine is an amazing individual and he's important to our industry, but I'm not sure TIME truly understands it.  Without some analysis into TIME's decision making process, it's hard to tell whether this is just the magazine throwing gamers a bone to get more readers or they truly believe Levine has a striking influence on the gaming industry, let alone the world.

Categories: Internet Related
 
 

GameSpot parent company CBS acquires gaming website Giant Bomb

5 comments Rory Young - 11:21am (PST) Like (2) Share (1)

Giant Bomb promises to be more ridiculous than ever

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In an extremely surprising move, independent gaming site Giant Bomb has been acquired by CBS. The news, reviews and gaming wiki site was created my former GameSpot editors Jeff Gerstmann and Ryan Davis as their solution to modern, PR fueled gaming sites.

Gerstmann announced the news via online stream this morning, promising that there will be no significant changes to Giant Bomb either creatively or editorially. He insisted that this was simply the best business decision for the site, and that the extra financial support will let them evolve in ways they never could have independently. The announcement was made from Giant Bomb's web designer's dining room, where the website's staff enjoyed a healthy pancake and bacon breakfast.

The largest reason this news comes as a surprise is Gerstmann's dramatic history with Gamespot. Gerstmann was fired from the site in late 2007. It was rumored that Eidos Interactive pressured GameSpot to remove him after he gave Kane & Lynch: Dead Men a "Fair" rating, a game which Eidos had heavily advertised on the site. It was this termination that led to a number of GameSpot staff leaving to start Giant Bomb. With the acquisition, Giant Bomb's staff will be moving back into GameSpot's offices.

Perhaps in order to counter potential backlash from fans due to Giant Bomb's return to GameSpot, Gerstmann will be performing an interview at 4:00 this afternoon, where he explains the situation that led to his termination. The interview may be streamed live, or will otherwise be made available on both sites.

Giant Bomb was voted one of the Top 50 websites of 2011 by Time Magazine, and is widely known for their Quick Looks and their podcast: The Giant BombCast.

Categories: Internet Related
 
 
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