Posts by Ben Silverman
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In2 days ago
It took a while, but Lara Croft’s rebirth is finally paying off.
Publisher Square Enix has announced that cumulative sales of last year’s acclaimed reboot of the iconic series are closing in on 6 million units. The company says that puts the game on track to become the best-selling Lara Croft game of all time.
That’s quite a change from last May, when Square Enix said it was “disappointed” by sales of the game despite it selling 3.4 million copies in its first month. The company had hoped to hit 6 million out of the gate -- an absurdly high goal for a series that had not had a critical hit for several installments.
Sales of the game, in fact, were a factor in the ouster of Square Enix president and CEO Yoichi Wada.
Now, says head of product development Darrell Gallagher, Tomb Raider has “exceeded profit expectations and continues to make significant contributions to our overall financial performance.”
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In4 days ago
Flappy Bird may have officially flown the coop, but it left plenty of eggs behind. And they’re hatching like crazy.
According to Pocket Gamer, a new Flappy Bird clone appears on the App Store every 24 minutes. That’s 2.5 clones per hour, or about 60 per day.
Dong Nguyen, the developer of the original touchscreen-tapping wunderkind, took his immensely popular game offline last month because he thought the game was proving to be “too addictive,” a problem countless game designers would love to experience.
And indeed, they’re trying to do just that by shamelessly ripping off his one-trick flying pony. Between February 28 and March 3, notes Pocket Gamer, a stunning 241 new Flappy Bird clones were made available for download.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In11 days ago
It’s been a pretty slow start to 2014, but the year finally turns its first corner this week with a quartet of new releases from some well-known franchises. Are they worth your precious coin, or should you save up for the next big batch (Titanfall, Dark Souls II, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Infamous: Second Son) coming up in March?
Here’s what the critics have to say.
Thief (Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Lie, cheat, and steal absolutely everything in this sneaky first-person reboot, which again places gamers in the soft, padded boots of Garret, the master thief. But unlike the universal acclaim heaped upon the 1998 original, the new criminal isn’t exactly stealing the hearts of critics.
Some outlets praise its methodical, old-school approach, which requires patience, timing, and some unavoidable trial-and-error.
“If you’re content to save your game every couple minutes and enjoy a slower-paced stealth game, then Thief rewards you with plenty of moments so tense you might catch yourself holding your breath,” writes Game Informer's Ben Reeves. He gives it an 8/10.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In17 days ago
When gamers see coins or enemies, they invariably and instinctively do everything in their power to grab the goodies, squash the bad guys and watch their score tick upwards.
But what if you tried to beat a game by scoring as few points as possible?
That’s just what Youtube user ‘NotEntirelySure’ set out to do in Nintendo’s classic Super Mario Bros. on the NES. And beat it he did, scoring a so-pathetic-it’s-amazing 500 points along the way.
Sound simple? It’s anything but. NotEntirelySure’s nine-minute video will make your hair stand on end as he deftly dodges coins, ignores turtles, avoids hammers, and (unavoidably) grabs the lowest part of the end-level flag five times.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In17 days ago
Can’t stand trying to navigate through your Xbox One using a gamepad or Kinect? Microsoft’s got a third option coming early next month.
The company revealed the official Xbox One Media Remote on Thursday, and it’s, well, a remote control. As in, it lets you remotely control your game system, featuring exciting buttons like back, forward, and a big button that brings you directly to the One Guide television guide.
It technically goes a step beyond that, however, by synching up with your TV through Kinect, allowing you to also control volume and channels. Which you’re probably already doing with your standard TV or cable box remote, but hey, look, it’s sleek and made of comfy silicon and the buttons light up.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In23 days ago
Let Flappy Bird fly into the sunset. There’s another game worth your attention, and it’s significantly smarter.
Not that you need big brains to get started playing Threes!, currently perched atop the iOS paid app chart ($1.99 for iPhone and iPad). You’ll just need a lot of time on your hands, because once you start, you won’t stop.
At a glance, Threes! looks like the bastard child of Sudoku and Bejeweled. Your task? Slide numbered tiles around a 4x4 grid by matching up multiples of three, creating greater tiles and, in turn, higher scores. Eventually you’ll get stuck with no numbers left to combine, at which point you’ll get a final tally based on what’s left on the board.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In24 days ago
There’s nothing sweet about King these days.
The creator of mega-hit Candy Crush Saga made waves in January by attempting to trademark the words ‘candy’ and ‘saga’ in an effort to protect its property from copycats. King CEO Riccardo Zacconi tried to calm the ensuing firestorm by issuing a statementexplaining that their actions had nothing to do with hampering the rights of other game developers.
“We believe in a thriving game development community, and believe that good game developers -- both small and large -- have every right to protect the hard work they do and the games they create,” he wrote.
But according to independent developer Albert Ransom, that’s a bunch of hogwash.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In26 days ago
Kevin Hays is proof that us weak, fleshy humans still have some fight left.
The 19-year-old ‘speedcuber’ from Renton, Washington shows off his absurd skills by completing six increasingly complex cubes in just 6 minutes and 23 seconds, smashing the previous world record by a good 30 seconds. He starts off with a simple 2x2 cube, moves on to the traditional 3x3 cube, and then goes bonkers by plowing through a 4x4, 5x5, 6x6, and impossibly complicated 7x7 cube. All without breaking a sweat. Or a finger.
It’s not the first record for the renowned speedcuber. In August, Hays solved a 6x6 cube in record time. He’s been at it since his freshman year in high school, though it’s not just tons of practice that’s turned him into a champ. It’s serious brainpower.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In1 mth ago
Game makers routinely release their heavy hitters between October and December, and while that’s great news when you’re tearing open Christmas presents, it means January and February tend to be a bit dry. And if you own a home console, that’s pretty much the case in 2014. The biggest release thus far? The perfectly fine but perfectly last year Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition.
If you’ve been paying attention to your PC, however, you’ve already found a bounty of riches just one month into the year. While you wait for the big games to start showing up at the end of February, consider spending some time with these terrific PC treats.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Developer: Blizzard | Price: Free
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In1 mth ago
You tap. You flap. You make it past two pipes. You die.
Your score: 2. You do it again. Why? Because 3 is out there.
This is Flappy Bird, the free, so-terrible-it-must-be-genius app that has awkwardly flown to the top of both the iOS and Android charts in pretty much a week. Like any good viral phenomenon, it came out of nowhere and has been embraced for its almost callous disregard for quality, strategy, depth, and fun. It’s the "Friday" of smartphone gaming.
Okay, technically, it didn’t come out of nowhere. Flappy Bird is the work of Dong Nguyen, the one-man army behind Vietnamese indie game company, .Gears. The company has released some web games and a few other smartphone games, including Shuriken Block, in which you tap to block throwing stars, and Super Ball Juggling, in which you tap to juggle a soccer ball. If you sense a theme here, it’s because there is a theme here.